Camden UNISON stops compulsory redundancies and pay cuts of nearly £5000 per year in the Youth Offending Service.
Due to austerity measures and council cuts, youth antisocial behaviour and offending funding in Camden was cut from £2.6 million a year by £800,000 per year: a 30% reduction.
The resulting re-organisation left staff in the service, the majority of whom are UNISON members, facing five redundancies. On top of this several workers were facing pay cuts of up to £4500 per year with no pay protection.
In particular there was a reduction in the number of frontline youth offending case worker posts from 14 to 12.
Following voluntary staff moves leaving only 12 case workers in post for 12 jobs UNISON argued that no selection process was necessary for the posts. However, management insisted on staff attending an interview, giving a sample session with the young person and undertaking a written test.
Initially, more workers joined the union, then union and non-union members together agreed not to attend interviews, as they believed that they could be used as a pretext to make unnecessary redundancies. Following this management agreed to postpone the selection process so further discussions could take place.
In subsequent negotiations management agreed to apply full payment protection to all staff and to grade the new case worker posts at a higher level than was initially mooted which would give several workers pay increases. However management would not back down on the selection process. After discussion with members UNISON agreed to advise them to attend interviews but we informed management that if any workers were de-selected we would consider this unfair dismissal and would ballot for industrial action.
In the end all staff who applied were successful in getting the new posts. Some ended up being appointed by management assessment and did not have to attend interviews. So despite losing posts, we were successful in ensuring that there were no compulsory redundancies and no pay cuts, and indeed some staff ended up with pay rises. We believe that this relatively good result was a testament to the level of union membership and organisation in the service, and the preparedness of members to stick together.