The new terms and conditions apply to council staff on NJC pay, but currently exclude schools staff and BMD workers.
• Download our pay modernisation newsletter here (PDF) – please also feel free to print this out and distribute colleagues.
Find out more
• Read the results of our member survey and how most staff are not signing up to the new contracts
• Read more about performance related pay
• Read the union response to management’s inaccurate “myth busting” e-mails
• 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
What are you selling for £1,000?
Many staff will have recently received a letter encouraging you to sign up to a new contract. Roll out of the workforce modernisation programme across the Council as a whole will continue until April 2013 with some 4,000 of us in scope.
Before you make up your mind, remember that the £1,000 incentive payment to sign up is not something for nothing. The Council’s objective is to save an additional £45 million in staffing costs over the next 15 years. This equates to savings per employee of between £7,500 to over £11,000. Of course, the impacts on individuals do vary considerably – and there are some additional sweeteners for the lowest paid – but for all staff the new contracts will mean longer hours for no extra pay and, for the vast majority, lower earnings in the long run.
What You Give up Now:
• At Least One Extra Hour A Week. This equates to a cut in your hourly rate of pay of 2.9%. The £1,000 incentive would only compensate you for a maximum of 1 year 7 months if you are at the top of Scale 4. If you sign up, the value of your unpaid extra work each year is: Scale 4 – £641, Scale 6 – £772, SO1 – £845, PO1 – £952, PO3 – £1081.
• Possibly more hours. The working week will be a minimum 36 hours and people on Practitioner & Manager grades can be made to work additional hours with no pay.
• Every 35 people who sign up makes 1 person’s job potentially redundant. As 35 people working one extra hour could do that work.
• No Automatic Right to an Incremental Increase. Only if you get a good or higher will you be able to progress. Service Providers only progress to the mid-point of the new scales. To go higher your performance rating has to be ‘High’ or ‘Exceptional’ for two consecutive years, which may never happen. It will now take you at least 6 years to progress to the top of a 5 point scale. Practitioner & Manager graded staff will only get a pay rise if good or higher. The published percentage rises only last until March 31 2014 after which they could be changed without negotiation. And the non-consolidated payments are entirely discretionary: you have no contractual right to them even if you get graded 4 or 5.
• No Automatic Right to the National Pay Award. We all know there’s been a pay freeze for the last three years. However, UNISON is campaigning for a pay rise, and when we get one, staff on the new contracts will not be entitled to that rise. You will only get a pay rise if your performance is deemed ‘Good’ or higher until 2013/14 in line with the percentages identified. In short, any element of negotiation regarding your pay rates would disappear.
• Lower or No Overtime rates. If you actually remained eligible to receive an overtime rate (posts currently graded Scale 6 or below) the new overtime rate of only an extra 10% on your hourly pay could reduce your overtime rate by £5 an hour Monday to Saturday and by £10 an hour on Sunday. If part of your working week falls between 8.00 AM and 5.00 PM on a Saturday or Sunday you would just receive flat pay.
The reality of performance related pay
No better than “good”
Human Resources are attempting to sell PRP claiming that it will “reward people based on their individual contribution”. However, the reality is entirely different. In children, schools and families whole departments were told they could not rate any employee higher than “good”, regardless of their individual performance. Many managers have confirmed to UNISON that they are unable to give the appraisal ratings they want to people they supervise, as workers’ grades are forced downwards in “moderation”. There is no appeals process.
The appraisal process does not only monitor performance, but also sickness. So outstanding workers could be penalised due to being ill or disabled. One UNISON member was downgraded from a 4 to a 3 appraisal rating after being sent home sick by his manager for 5 days with swine flu earlier in the year which took his sickness to 7 days for the year. Workers with children or caring responsibilities may also be penalised due to not being able to exceed targets if they cannot work excessively late for example.
Bonuses for senior managers
Other councils where PRP has been introduced have seen it used as a way of giving bonuses to senior managers at the expense of everyone else. In one such borough, Huntingdonshire, UNISON submitted Freedom of Information requests to discover that managers awarded themselves on average 25%-30% higher performance measures than mainstream staff.
You can read more about performance related pay here.
What has UNISON been doing?
UNISON branch officers took part in lengthy talks with HR that lasted more than eight months. UNISON’s arguments, both on principled and practical grounds, against introducing PRP fell on stony ground. Eventually, the officers involved, along with the whole of the branch committee, decided that the management proposals were unacceptable and could not be recommended to the membership at large. Even so, the talks were not fruitless. In the absence of any agreement management withdrew some of the concessions it had appeared willing to make, but UNISON members should be aware that the original proposals included a 37-hour week and even deeper cuts in pay for working anti-social hours. As a result of UNISON arguing that all council workers on less than £25,000 a year should receive an award of £250 with no strings attached, management is now offering this sum to those on £23,000 or less, but with the precondition that the employee signs up to the new contract. This idea never featured in management’s original thinking.
Furthermore, the original wording of the new contract made no mention of flexi-leave. When pressed on this by UNISON management have agreed to incorporate it.
What you can do
• Learn more by looking at our website www.camdenunison.org.uk
• Keep calm and refuse to sign up to the new contracts. If you don’t sign you will keep your current terms and conditions unless you move to a new job. (If you are on a fixed term contract or currently going through a restructure talk to your local rep or convenor for individual advice)
• Join UNISON if you’re not a member already, or get a colleague to join if you are
• Get organised – elect a local union representative or volunteer to be a local rep or workplace contact
• Pass this newsletter to colleagues and discuss the changes with them
• For more information, or to request a union meeting in your workplace talk to your local rep. If you do not know who this is see our website or call the branch office on 020 7974 1633.