Say NO to pay erosion!

Information about Camden Council’s “pay modernisation” proposals for new terms and conditions, which will introduce performance related pay, a longer working week and huge cuts in antisocial hours and overtime pay. Camden UNISON says: don’t sign up!

Camden Council’s Audit & Corporate Governance Committee agreed on 24 July to change the contracts for employees who are new starters. It also gave the green light to radically changed conditions and pay structures for existing employees in the longer term. 

Following several workplace meetings, UNISON Branch Committee took the unanimous position that, whilst we had gained a number of improvements through negotiations, the main principle of performance related pay, combined with the fact that nearly 25% of lower paid staff would still face a pay cut was unacceptable. Financial compensation will be offered to those who would lose out the most, but we calculated that would account for two years of the lost pay at best. In a climate where we are not sure when the next pay rise is coming, this was too great a detriment to a large number of the lowest paid.

Because UNISON did not sign up to an agreement on pay modernisation, management decided to withdraw some (not all) of the concessions they had made!  The withdrawal of the concessions means that:

1. if you sign up to the new contract or are a new starter, you will be working a 36 hour week (no two-tier workforce, then!);
2. the £250 pay award will only go to those earning less than £23,000 rather than £25,000 or less, and only on condition they sign up to the new contract;
3. the Council may now consider imposing the new contract on all staff before 2015 despite a declared preference for voluntary sign-up.

UNISON is therefore urging everyone who currently works on a Camden contract to resist any pressure to sign up to the new contract voluntarily.  Already the new contract will be imposed on new starters, some of those compelled to apply for new jobs in reorganisations and those seeking promotion.

Management are already trying to ‘sell’ this new deal to staff as a benefit.  For those on SO1 and above. The ‘lure’ of performance related pay (PRP) after a three-year pay freeze may seem very strong. But even members who told us they supported PRP in principle remained sceptical about ‘fair’ implementation. While the pattern of appraisal ratings for the past year looks very similar to that for 2010-11, there will inevitably be pressures to drive scores downwards as the Council seeks to cut more than £45 million from the pay bill over 15 years. For anyone on a PRP contract a score below three would mean a continuing absolute pay freeze.

UNISON believes this new contract will prove divisive and a false promise as there will not be a bankers’ pot of ‘reward’ money. Staff at the top of their scale will not have any ‘head room’ for additional pay, and finally it is a move away from any collective pay bargaining towards individual negotiation between staff and manager.

So UNISON is urging all our members to:

• refuse to sign up to the new contract,
• campaign among your colleagues to do the same,
join UNISON if you are not yet a member, and encourage your colleagues to do the same,
• e-mail or print out and distribute/put up on union noticeboards our campaigning posters, available below, and
• keep Performance Related Pay out of Public Services!

Phoebe Watkins
Branch Co-Chair

Read/print our newsletter about the new terms and conditions
Read more about performance related pay
Download our Keep calm and do not sign poster to display on noticeboards and on your desk
Download management’s pay modernisation information booklet
Have a look at the new contracts for practitioner and manager grades
Have a look at the new contract for the service provider grades
Have a look at the full new terms and conditions

3 responses to “Say NO to pay erosion!

  1. What next! Good Luck with your campaign to resist (rightfully) PRP!

  2. Pingback: The reality of performance related pay | Camden UNISON

  3. Pingback: Camden UNISON newsletter on new terms and conditions | Camden UNISON

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