Camden UNISON have completed our member survey, which shows that the vast majority of members believe the new contracts are worse than our current ones, and that the majority will not sign up. On a similar note, UNISON has uncovered strong anecdotal evidence that sign up so far in children, schools and families (CSF) has fallen well below management expectations, with only a quarter or fewer of staff signing up.
We have just concluded our electronic member survey so far of all members whose e-mail addresses we have on the new terms and conditions, dubbed “pay modernisation” by management. Over 33% of the 1757 members surveyed responded: our biggest consultation so far.*
Here we will summarise the results:
97.5% of members who responded think that the new contracts are worse than our current ones. Only 2.5% thought they were an improvement, despite management consistently stressing their supposed “benefits”.
Only 5% of members said they wanted to sign the new contracts. 67% outright said they were not considering signing. Whereas the final 26% said they were only considering signing because they felt they might be forced to.
78% of members said they were prepared to take industrial action to pressure the council into improving or withdrawing the new contracts. The preferred industrial action options were a 1-day strike and an overtime ban. Only 22% were not prepared to take action.
39% of members voted that they thought performance related pay was the worst element of the new contracts. Voted second worst (by 26%) was the removal of automatic entitlement to national pay awards, with the longer working week and the existence of a two tier workforce being next (10% each). 7% of members thought that the premium payment cuts were the worst element of the new contracts – but it should be borne in mind that only a minority of members currently get these payments.
In addition, Camden UNISON now believes that a big majority of staff in CSF have not signed up to the new contracts. We have evidence that fewer than a quarter of staff have signed, which goes down to only 5% in some sections. This is despite almost daily e-mails from HR encouraging people to sign, often with misleading information, and management initially trying to pressure people to sign before Christmas.
And despite management claims that sign up sessions in the Crowndale were so overcrowded that they had to organise new sessions. In fact, UNISON reps visited some of these supposedly “overcrowded” sessions to see empty rooms with HR advisers sitting around. (It should also be borne in mind that our advice to some staff, such as those on fixed term contracts, those leaving shortly and those who will be moved into new jobs in restructures is that they should sign.)
Camden UNISON now intends to step up the campaign against the new contracts and the attacks on our pay and conditions, which it should be remembered are to save £3 million per year from the wages bill. The union Branch Committee resolved this week to propose a motion to ballot for industrial action on the new contracts at the Branch Annual General Meeting, which will take place at 3:30 PM on Thursday 7 March in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall. So please do attend this important meeting and make your voice heard.
And if you haven’t yet, please have a look at the detailed information about the new contracts here on our website, and even better print out some of the newsletters and posters to put up and distribute to colleagues. And most of all, keep calm and do not sign.**
* If you did not get a consultation e-mail, it means we do not have a valid e-mail address for you. Please update your records here online or contact Paul.England@Camden.gov.uk. Not all surveyed members voted as some of them, like senior managers and youth workers, are not in scope for these changes.
** This is union advice for the majority of members. For tailored individual advice speak to your local rep or convenor as it may differ for example if you are leaving soon or if you are on a fixed term contract.