Richmond upon Thames Branch
All Staff Meeting 9 July 2015
Agenda: Shared Services with Wandsworth: Terms and Conditions
Discussion to focus on Appendix 7 of the Richmond Cabinet Document 2 July 2015 (see attached)
Speakers: Joanna McCoulough (Unison Branch Chair); John Holroyd (Unison Branch Secretary); Greta Farian (Unison Regional Officer); Paul Grafton (GMB Regional Officer)
JMcC welcomed all staff to the meeting and introduced the speakers. She explained that the meeting will focus on Appendix 7 of the Cabinet document and that there would be opportunities for questions and comments after JH’s presentation of the document.
JH presented the document and spoke briefly on each section.
PG commented on Wandsworth’s more severe T&Cs.
GF expressed the need to protect Richmond’s better T&Cs. Wandsworth’s recently revised Sickness Policy for example still has many factors down to ‘manager’s discretion’, to which we will not agree. She emphasised the importance of cross-union negotiations and that they will be difficult and prolonged. She suggested holding regular meetings with feedback from members and asked for departmental contacts.
JH asked for questions and comments from the floor.
Q/comment a member found the Wandsworth sickness policy unacceptable. It discriminated against families and had hidden H&S issues, ie attending work whilst ill to avoid loss of pay.
JH asked the meeting to indicate their opposition to the sickness policy with a show of hands. The result was 100% in opposition.
GF said that the Wandsworth policy was still being negotiated but that his members were in favour as it was an improvement on the existing one.
Q/comment there was a suggestion that we should work with Wandsworth Unions to adopt Richmond’s policy full stop.
Q/comment a member thought adopting the Wandsworth policy might result in staff leaving, other members agreed.
Q/comment a member thought it subject to possible abuse and asked how it would affect staff with disabilities.
PG said Wandsworth recognised that disability was missing from their policy.
Q/comment a member informed the meeting that she had not had a pension statement since March 2013 and things are likely to get worse. For those staff considering leaving, knowing the details of their pension would be crucial.
JH said that Gillian Norton is aware of this problem.
Q/comment a member said that some statements had gone out and informed the meeting that it is a legal requirement for the council to supply them.
Q a member asked if PRP was in addition to basic pay.
JH replied yes it was.
Q/comment a member reported that it was asked at one of GN’s meetings whether an Equalities Impact Assessment had been conducted in respect of the effects of the Wandsworth sickness policy. The answer was no there has not.
Q a member asked how the changes to terms and conditions will affect staff on NHS T&Cs, will there be moves to harmonise these as well?
GF answered that it will depend on the original TUPE transfer; when it was for example.
Q/comment a member voiced a view that the change to decrease the number of days paid compassionate leave from (Richmond) to 3 (Wandsworth) was diabolical. A question was then asked whether Wandsworth were planning to set up a company for Education and Childrens’ Services, equivalent to AFC in Richmond and Kingston.
JMcC reported that there was no decision at present to introduce a similar company to AFC in Wandsworth.
Q/comment a member commented on the absence of homeworking/flexible working in the document.
Q/comment a member noticed that PRP and incremental pay will be based on appraisals which are not always carried out in some departments.
Q/comment the absence of any reference to VR in the document was noted and it was reported that GN, when asked at one of her meetings, was rather sceptical. The timing is not clear as to when redundancies may occur and there doesn’t seem to be a timescale.
JH suggested that VR may be on offer at the point of re-organisation.
Q/comment a member then put forward three principles for negotiation:
1. To negotiate alongside Wandsworth Unison
2. That a third body be set up to replace Richmond and Wandsworth councils and that this company accept all our terms and conditions.
3. We need to negotiate upwards, always for the better.
GF reminded the meeting that the document under discussion is only a set of proposals and that regular communication with members is vital.
JMcC closed the meeting with a request for volunteers to be Unison contacts.
Questions received in writing for a fuller response:
Questions/Comments from all staff meeting July 2015
Q Under open Data we should be able to see the full policy documents (Wandsworth policies) that it is proposed to adopt so that we can make an informed contribution to the negotiations.
A At present we do not have access to these policies but as the question indicates these are vitally important. The Unison Branch Secretary and Regional Officer will be meeting with counterparts in Wandsworth next week and they will ask for copies of these documents along with how affective these are in the opinion of Wandsworth colleagues.
Q On PRP I would like to know the justification for the disparity between staff above and below grade PO7.
A The staff side representations will be asking for an explanation of this. They are likely to be arguing for an equalization of this as part of the negotiations.
Q I agree with some of the speakers about what is being proposed around home working and flexible working.
A At present we have no indication of intentions in this area. As part of the negotiations these issues will be raised by Richmond representatives who appreciate these are important to many members of staff. Representative will be arguing that the status quo should be maintained
Q How can other unions that staff are being represented by ( eg Unite, British Medical Association) be involved in discussions?
A LBRuT ‘recognises’ the three unions, Unison, Unite and GMB and all of these will take part in negotiations. Any other Unions or professional bodies such as the BMA are welcome to forward their views and concerns and these will presented in the negotiations
Q Is it intended that harmonization of LBRuT and LBW terms and conditions will include staff who have been TUPEd, eg from the NHS (7 staff in public health)? NHS terms and conditions are quite different, so how will this be dealt with in negotiations and comparisons?
A It is not clear at this point whether those staff on NHS pay and conditions will be included. Tupe does accord staff in this area some rights. This question will be raised and the affected staff informed and consulted by staffside representatives
It is now clear there will be no negotiations around the harmonization of terms and conditions until the beginning of September. We will of course keep you informed and consulted as the process progresses.
Responses received from Townmead Recycling Depot
After reading though appendix 7 and speaking with the staff at Townmead Road Recycling Depot, we have some serious concerns. Listed below are the things that we feel could and will affect us the most.
- Incremental Pay Merit based AGAINST
We feel that having it as merit based is open to abuse by managers and could lead to discrimination against workers.
There is no mention of a right of appeal if you were refused a spinal point increase.
- Incremental Pay Automatic FOR
By leaving it as an annual increase until the top of grade it will safe guard managers and workers.
We currently have a local agreement where we get extra 2 spinal points paid as salary for working every other weekend. We would seek this to continue.
- Performance Related Pay AGAINST
2.5% for those below PO7
6% PO7 and above
We feel that this is discriminating against those on a lower grade.
It is also open to abuse by managers who may give staff an unachievable target and or may refuse payment for the merest infraction of rules.
- No Performance Related Pay FOR
We haven’t had it and won’t miss it equality for all staff.
- Annual Leave
We are not opposed to the 31 day annual leave for all staff, however we currently have a local agreement where we get an additional 8 annual leave days for bank holiday because we work a shift that may or may not mean you work on a bank holiday. We would seek to have this continue leading to all staff at Townmead having 39 days annual leave a year.
If this cannot be agreed we would seek to continue with our current contract holidays on length of service plus 8 days for bank holidays.
- Sickness Reduction in Pay AGAINST
We feel that this will discriminate against people with disabilities, people with underlying medical conditions. May be a breach of the equality act.
- Sickness no Reduction in Pay FOR
Discriminates against no one.
- London Allowances
We would seek Inner London Allowance
If LBR and LBW are really seeking to harmonies then I would point out single status not to do so would discriminate against all LBR employees.
LBR is one of the most expensive parts of London to live would it not be acceptable to have a local agreement with all staff on Inner London Allowance.
I would like to say on a personal level that there is no mention of London weighting in my contract it only stated my salary.
- Voluntary Overtime Mon to Sat Time1/4 AGAINST
No mention of working overtime on Sundays or Bank Holidays more needs to be known.
It also leaves nowhere to go when negotiating contractual overtime.
- Voluntary Overtime at 1.5 plus our local agreement FOR
At Townmead we have a local agreement we have the standard 1.5 paid for overtime for the 1st days over time and double time for the second as this is considered a rest day we also get double time for any non-shift Sunday and any non-shift Bank Holiday.
- Compassionate Leave 3 Days AGAINST
We feel that to only allow 3 days compassionate leave to be penny pinching at such a highly emotional time and deprive staff time to grieve and make arrangements for a loved one in this day and age is an insult.
- Compassionate Leave 5 Days FOR
Allows staff time to make arrangements for a loved one.
Time to grieve.