Busting management’s “myth busting” on the new contracts

mythsCamden Unison looks at management’s inaccurate so-called “myth busting” which they have been e-mailing us every day, and points out what is really myth and fact.

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Many of you will have seen the recent daily e-mails from management claiming to “bust” some of the “myths” around their new contracts, dubbed “workforce modernisation”.

They are claiming they want to: “make sure that you get accurate information about our new approach to managing, developing and rewarding staff – so that you can make an informed decision about signing up.” What they haven’t mentioned is that they are pushing this as part of an attempt to make £45 million in ‘savings’ on the pay bill over the next 15 years.

Unfortunately, they have given much inaccurate information in an effort to persuade staff to sell their terms and conditions.

Camden Unison looks at management’s supposed myth busting to see how accurate it is:

Myth (according to management)
“The top of my new grade may be lower than my current salary so I’ll be paid less.”

Fact (according to management)
Your basic salary will not change until the top of the new pay range catches up.
If you earn less than £23,000 per annum you will receive an extra £250 per year (pro rata if you are part-time) on top of your salary.

Actual fact
If the top of your new grade is lower than your current salary and you sign up to the new contract your basic salary will not change, that much is correct. However if you did not sign up and stayed with our current contracts then your current salary would be increased with national pay awards negotiated by the unions. And you will not get this if you sign up. So in actual fact you will be paid less on the new contracts than you would be under the current one.

The £250 pay increase for those earning less than £23,000 was a concession won by Unison during negotiations (originally Unison argued for £250 for staff below £25,000 with no strings attached.) But even that is more than outweighed by the increase in the length of the working week which means the lowest paid will have to perform up to £657 worth of free additional work every year. And these staff may also lose out from losing national pay awards and denied incremental rises due to performance related pay.

Myth (according to management)
“The Council is opting out of nationally agreed pay awards because it wants to reduce my pay.”

Fact (according to management)
No Camden employee will have their base pay reduced because they move across to the new arrangements.
We have put in place new pay arrangements but this doesn’t mean we have opted out of nationally agreed pay awards. We will review pay ranges every year and as part of this process we will consider the national pay award and other factors when making our decision.

Actual fact
As pointed out above while base pay will not be reduced, people whose new grade is lower will not get national pay awards, so they will earn less.

The new pay scales have moved away from the nationally agreed NJC scales, and in the new contracts there is no more entitlement to the national pay award. Management claim they will “consider” the national pay award, but is that at all meaningful. If management really do not intend to deny staff the national pay award then why not state that clearly in the new contracts?

Myth (according to management)
“If I agree to work 36 hours, the Council will need less staff and more people will be made redundant.”

Fact (according to management)
We will not be making any staff redundant by increasing the working week to 36 hours. 
The changes being made as part of the new approach to pay, performance and development will make an important contribution to the savings programme, not least of which because they will help to avoid redundancies.

Actual fact
Firstly the length of the new working week will not be 36 hours: it will be “a minimum” of 36 hours. And for P&M grade staff (i.e. above scale 6) the contract states “you may be asked to work additional hours… and you will not normally receive additional pay for extra hours.” This is potentially an unlimited working week with no further compensation.

Management have failed to explain how increasing the length of the working week will contribute to the savings program. Because they will not save costs unless jobs are cut as a result. And of course in spite of these changes management still plan to make hundreds more redundancies before 2015, with further job cuts planned thereafter.

In other boroughs where staff have let their conditions be cut, like Newham, more jobs have been cut then where workers resisted, like Tower Hamlets.

Myth (according to management)
“I’ll lose some of my annual leave entitlement if I sign the new contract.”

Fact (according to management)
Existing staff will keep the leave they’ve already got, including statutory and privilege days, and still accrue any long service leave up to 31 March 2015.

Actual fact
While management states that the current amount of annual leave existing staff have will be protected, after 31 March 2015 you will no longer accrue further long service leave, which is of course part of our current annual leave entitlement. And the accumulated annual leave scheme which some staff are part of will no longer be available if people sign up.

Furthermore, Unison is concerned that a two tier workforce where new starters have only 25 days’ leave will not only be unfair but leaves the danger that in the future the council may cut annual leave for current staff down to that level in the name of “fairness”.

Myth (according to management)
“If I remain eligible to receive overtime payments, the amount I receive could reduce by £5 an hour if I am asked to work overtime between Monday to Saturday.”

Fact (according to management)
Overtime rates will be less but in the future these will be calculated using your individual hourly rate, instead of the current nationally set rates which are lower.
For example, if you are on SCP 28, overtime is currently based on the national rate of £13.06 per hour.  In future these would be based on your actual hourly rate of £14.42 per hour – so the difference in the amount you receive may be less than you think.

Actual fact
Again, this “myth” is not a myth at all, it is entirely correct. Using management’s example of a worker on SCP 28 (the top of scale 6), here is what they will earn under the new contracts compared to now:

Current hourly rate for over 35 hours Monday-Saturday:  £19.59 (time and a half)
New hourly rate for 35-38 hours:                                             £14.42              – £5.17 less
New hourly rate for 38+ hours:                                                 £15.87              – £3.72 less

Current hourly rate for 35+ hours Sundays + bank holidays:  £26.12 (double time)
New hourly rate for 35-38 hours:                                                £14.42              – £11.70 less
New hourly rate for 38+ hours:                                                    £15.87              – £10.25 less

And this is ignoring the fact that with the new contracts no one above scale 6 will be entitled to overtime pay at all, which some of us currently are.

For lots more information on the new contracts please see here on our website and please make sure you vote in our electronic consultation on the new contracts. If you haven’t received a voting e-mail it means we haven’t got your e-mail address. Please contact Paul.England@Camden.gov.uk to let him know your address.

2 responses to “Busting management’s “myth busting” on the new contracts

  1. Pingback: Camden UNISON information on new terms and conditions | Camden UNISON

  2. Pingback: Camden staff reject new contracts | Camden UNISON

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