Camden UNISON briefing for workers in the Play Service

As the council proceeds with its plan to shut down its first-class in-house play service, Camden UNISON is seeking to ensure that staff being made redundant receive their full entitlements as we believe some may have been underpaid by thousands of pounds.

This is an important briefing which will cover compromise agreements, outstanding pay issues, redundancy payments, upcoming meetings, Building Bridges, continuing your UNISON membership and annual leave for additional/sessional hours.

Compromise agreements

For those members of staff unfortunately being made redundant, you should have been given a compromise agreement to sign.

Importantly, these agreements sign away your rights to take any outstanding claims against the council (excluding personal injury). Therefore at present we are advising some people not to sign the agreements at present.

 In our view, the following people should not sign a compromise agreement at present:

  • workers who dispute the number of hours/length of service or amount of redundancy pay on their agreement;

If this does not apply to you and you have no other outstanding issues with the council then you should feel free to proceed with signing your agreement. Even if this does apply to you you should still come to the solicitors surgery (details below) to get your legal advice. If you are not sure please contact John Shepherd, UNISON convenor in CSF (contact details below), or come to the UNISON shop meeting for play workers on Wednesday 8 August at 6:30 PM at Fairfield Playcentre.

 There will be a further surgery with Thompsons solicitors for people to get advice on and sign their agreements on Thursday 9 August at 6:30 PM at Fairfield Playcentre.

 HR have said that the deadline for people signing these agreements has been extended to 17 August.

 Outstanding pay issues

UNISON understands that there are outstanding pay issues in that some people should be getting back pay for issues including: antisocial hours payments, first aid and fire marshal duties and acting up arrangements.

 While members have not yet received these payments, these are being resolved by management at present and so these should not be a barrier to signing your compromise agreements. If you have an outstanding claim which management have not agreed to repay please contact your UNISON rep ASAP.

 There is one outstanding pay issue which has not yet been agreed with management. However, this applies to sessional/casual workers only, not those on contracts and so should not affect anyone with a compromise agreement.

Sessional/casual hours annual leave pay

According to the law, all workers are entitled to annual leave – including casual or sessional workers.

 We believe that in the Play Service, casual sessional workers have not been paid their annual leave entitlement. For these hours, the annual leave element should be paid at 12.07% on top of your salary. Furthermore, the fact that annual leave pay is being included rolled up with your pay has to be clearly written and expressly agreed either in your contract or on your payslips.

 We have examined the payslips of many workers, none of them have been informed in writing about their rolled up holiday pay, and their pay does not seem to include the annual leave element. Indeed, many have been wrongly informed by management that they were not entitled to annual leave.

 Amongst the workers we have checked, workers on scale 5, point 22, are being paid £12.56 per hour. This is the scale 5 rate not including annual leave.

 If you would like help looking at your payslip please contact John Shepherd or come to the UNISON shop meeting.

 As a result, we requested that all sessional play workers who have done sessional hours in the last three months (the legal limit for making a claim) be given back pay for their annual leave entitlement going back to 2006. If this applies to you please contact John Shepherd immediately.

Legally, you have three months minus one day to claim back lost earnings. So if you have stopped working sessional hours recently please contact John Shepherd as soon as possible in order to safeguard your potential claim. If you are not yet a member of UNISON, you can still join by talking to your rep or online at camdenunison.org.uk/join

Building Bridges

As far as we understand it, Building Bridges is due to continue as an in-house service for the time being. UNISON has asked for more information about this, in particular as there may be opportunities for play workers to continue their employment with Camden. As yet we have no further information but we will endeavour to keep members updated.

Continuing your UNISON membership

If you are leaving Camden, it could still be beneficial for you to retain your UNISON membership. In particular if you get a job at one of the new voluntary sector providers, it is important that you remain a member in order to protect your job. And with an organised union presence in the new providers we can try to defend and improve workers’ pay, terms and conditions. The cost of union membership depends on how much you earn, so if your new salary is lower your membership fees will be cheaper.

If you are retiring, you can become a retired member of UNISON for a small one off fee. Contact the branch office or John Shepherd to arrange this.

If you have outstanding claims with the council you can become an unemployed member of UNISON for two years for a small one-off fee. Discuss this with your rep.

Meetings

  • Play shop meeting for UNISON members for any general discussion and questions about annual leave, redundancy pay etc (nonmembers can attend and join at the meeting).     

                                    Fairfield Playcentre Wednesday 8 August at 6:30 PM

  • Thompsons solicitors surgery for UNISON members to get advice on compromise agreements.

                                      Fairfield Playcentre Thursday 9 August at 6:30 PM

Contacts

CSF UNISON convenor:

John Shepherd                          020 7974 1169               john.shepherd@camden.gov.uk

Play service UNISON reps:

Cristina Serrao                          07939 845 035               cristina.serrao@camden.gov.uk

Liz Leicester                              020 7974 1686               liz.leicester@camden.gov.uk

Camden UNISON branch office:

                                                020 7974 1633               paul.england@camden.gov.uk

Thompsons solicitors:

01752 521850                     compromiseagreements@thompsons.law.co.uk

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