UNISON OUT ON STRIKE – 02/07/2015
WHY WE ARE STRIKING?
Privatisation threat increases another 110 jobs voted to go last week
• The council have openly said that they wish to privatise as many services as possible with the aim to cut the in house workforce from 1950 down to just 300.
• They also want to push every school into converting to an academy.
• TUPE regulations WON’T protect your jobs and pay after the transfer
• As part of £53m of cuts the council is looking to sack more and more workers whilst expecting those left to pick up their workload.
• As of the 1st April New starters in the council have lost the right to essential car users allowance and the right to automatically incremental progression on their grade.
• The council now want to cut the pay of 365 essential car users by nearly a £1000 a year over the next two years.
• if the council get away with this attack on pay will inevitable look to come back for more of the rest of us.
Attack on your union rights
• One of the only things standing in the way of the council attacking your jobs and pay is that you are in a union that wants to fight back.
• The council has now decided that it wants to end a 40 year practice of having your trade union branch secretary released from their job to support you through all of the above.
For more information about the strike and pickets lines and demonstration contact us
BROMLEY COUNCIL PUSHING AHEAD WITH PLANS TO CUT SERVICES – 23/01/2015
As you will be aware Bromley council are planning a bonfire of our jobs and services, with a new announcement of yet another attack coming in each day, the latest being to close the adult Education service and sell off the Bromley museum.
Despite sitting on over £10 million in reserves they are intent on cutting shutting or selling off almost everything.
As part of the campaign we need to let the people of the borough know what is being done so the union is running a series of campaign stalls with the leaflet below on Saturday 12-2pm each Saturday. This Saturday we will be in Bromley high street at the top in Churchill square. Please come along and help if you can, the more people we can get the more stalls we can do as we also want to cover Orpington Beckenham and Penge. If you can make it this week or the following Saturdays email via the contact us page
One of the attacks is on the library service where the council wants the big libraries to be privatised and 6 community libraries to be run by volunteer’s with just two staff to oversee all six. This would be a return to the Victorian days of having a public service only if there was someone willing to do it for nothing.
The council is currently carrying out a survey of the people of the borough. This closes on the 2nd Feb PLEASE FILL IT IN and let them know you don’t want libraries run by private companies and you demand to have a library that is fully staffed by paid trained staff.http://www.bromley.gov.
Finally the council is still looking to end the time off given to me as branch secretary to represent you no doubt to try and help them get the cuts through. We need to stand up and defend our right to have a union.
COUNCIL ANNOUNCE PAY OFFER
The 2015 pay offer is a miserly 1.2% which will be viewed as insulting by many workers who have faced year on year real terms pay cuts for 5 consecutive years as well as fresh attacks on their terms and conditions. Further details to follow.
MORE ATTACKS ON PAY AND CONDITIONS
PAY AWARD FOR 2015/16 – Our claim £1 an hour increase for all with a minimum wage of £10 per hour.
Despite the fact that the unions submitted our claim to the council several months ago and we are only a few weeks away from the council making it’s decision on the pay award for next year, senior management had again to report to us that they were not in a position to tell us what pay rise was being offered for this year. It is interesting to note that unlike previous years in the budget report going to the Executive of councillors next week there is no reference or budget set aside for a pay rise in 2105. We were told not to worry about that as there is reference to “inflationary pressures” in the report generally. Let’s wait and see.
THE ABOLITION OF AUTOMATIC INCREMENTS FOR NEW STARTERS
The council are refusing to budge on weakening the pay rights of staff, in this case new starters and staff redeployed to a higher grade or those who seek and get a new post with the council.
These workers pay will no longer automatically progress through their grade every year until the reach the top now a manager can decide to withhold an incremental increase if they deem your performance to be “unsatisfactory” this is on top of the right to withhold the cost of living pay rise as well.
However the position has got worse since I last reported, even if a workers performance is deemed to be satisfactory or good they would get an increase but not by the fixed incremental points that are already agreed in the pay scales but by any amount the manager so determines. So if your pay band for example now is £18-£21k with increments of £500 each year, a manager could decide you have been a good worker and your increment for the year is just £50! Or if they like another’s increase could be by a £1000 in one go! Aside from the division this will create is an opportunity to hold back a worker pay to save money, in this case instead of it taking a maximum of 6 years to get to the top of a grade it could take 60 years!
ANOTHER PAY CUT PROPOSED FOR CAR USERS
Despite the fact that the council only revised the car allowance scheme a few years ago when they introduced car parking fees and took some staff off essential car users allowance resulting in a massive loss in pay for some, today we were told they council are proposing to cut the allowances again to save £300k a year as of the 1st April.
At the moment if you are deemed to be an essential car user, you get a lump sum (for most it will be £963 a year)
Plus 40.9p per mile.
For a casual car users they get 52.2p per mile.
The council is proposing to Scrap the essential car user allowance altogether and to have a fixed mileage rate of just 45p per mile for all. This would be a cut of 7.2p per mile for casual’s car users.
An essential car user doing 2000 per year would lose approx. £881 per year
A casual car user doing 2000 miles per year would lose £144 a year.
Management stated that they wanted to try and get a collective agreement from the unions to agree to the proposals i.e. that I and the other unions would simply sign an agreement to change our member’s contracts to cut their pay! They then got upset at the fact that I said “it would be over my dead body would I agree to sign any such deal”. Let’s be clear the job of a trade union leader is to protect your wages and conditions not to help management cut them. I’d be interested to hear if you agree with me?
We now need to organise to try and stop this pay cut for the 960 staff affected. If you work for the council and claim car users’ allowance, either essential or casual, please contact me so we can arrange to meeting and begin a campaign to stop your pay being cut again.
THREATS OF MORE TO COME
Finally the last item on the agenda was “a review of terms and conditions” we were given no details about this or what terms and conditions were to be reviewed or when. When I pushed them on what was to be included I was told “nothing was ruled in and nothing ruled and nothing was ruled out”
When the council took us off the national terms and conditions we warned that they would inevitably use it to come back to attack our pay and conditions and all the promises they gave at the time would turn to dust as soon as the protection on the 1st April 2015 was over.
On top of these attacks the council is going to propose £8m of cuts in jobs and services this year, £11m the year after and £53m the following two years this is on top of the £60m they have already cut. There are also drawing up plans to privatise the majority of the workforce as well.
This is despite the fact that the council has over £100m squirreled away in various reserve funds and own £500m in assets. If it had the will and fight to do so it could save every job and service. I will do a full report on the budget proposals shortly and will be calling meetings of members affected.
ATTACK ON YOUR UNION RIGHTS
As if all the above weren’t enough I have been called to a meeting on Friday to discuss a “review of the facility time agreement”. This is the time off given to trade union reps by the council to represent and defend union members. Is it a coincidence that this is being raised at the same time we face the biggest attack on our jobs and pay in the history of the council? I will let you know what they are proposing.
Now this time we have to fight back or else they will keep on coming back for more, yes there is no guarantee we will win but we can guarantee if we do nothing we have already lost.
Bromley Branch Secretary
ARE YOU A UNISON MEMBER ON A LOW INCOME AND WORRIED ABOUT WINTER FUEL BILLS?
With rising fuel costs and another cold winter many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills. Help is on hand. “There for You” has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members. Just download the Winter Fuel Grant Application Form here for further details or to make an application.
OFFER FOR UNION MEMBERS: RED LADDER THEATRE COMPANY PERFORMS “WE’RE NOT GOING BACK”
The play commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the miners’ strike by looking at the role of women during the dispute.
Red Ladder is kindly offering discounted tickets to trade union members for forthcoming performance:
Thursday 17 February 2015
Performance starts at 7.30pm
@ Pleasance Theatre
Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF
(Nearest Tube: Caledonian Road)
• Full price ticket – £12.00
• Union members discounted tickets – £7.00 (use discount code: UNIONMEMBER)
***Full details of the play and booking arrangements can be found HERE***
2015 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) AND ELECTIONS
The 2015 Bromley UNISON AGM will take place on Wednesday 4 March 2015 1pm and again at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre Bromley.
Put the date in your diary now
At the meeting along with discussing the pay campaign, the threat of cuts and privatisation we will also elect the leadership for the branch in which every member of the branch has the right to stand.
LONDON UNISON HEALTH BRANCHES IN INDUSTRIAL ACTION
UNISON EVENT FOT LGBT MEMBERS:
JOIN A MARCH FOR FAIR PAY THIS SATURDAY
Contact us if you can attend with other workers from Bromley
YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE UNDER THREAT
First they come for the new starters then they come for the rest of us!
You may recall that in order to try and persuade staff to sign up to the local pay and conditions, the council gave us an assurance that they had no intention of changing them and that there were protected until 1st April 2015.
Well no sooner has that protection to come to an end and the council are looking to change the terms and conditions.
Management have tabled a proposal to do away with the right of incremental progression through the grade for new staff. So this would mean unlike the national terms and conditions Bromley council workers could now, not only have the cost of living pay award withheld, but they could also have their right to progress through their grade on the 1st April each year withheld as well.
This would set up a two tier workforce whereby workers undertaking the same job on the same grade could be paid a different rate of pay. All the unions have rejected this divisive pay policy, however despite the promise made in the recent UNISON court case the council are not saying they need our agreement to introduce this change but are threatening to impose it.
Put aside the unfair treatment of new employees, what message does it send to other workers deciding if they should come and work for Bromley or not, when here they can face a double pay cut unlike most other councils in the country?
COUNCIL PAYS UP FOR ILLEGAL CONTRACT CHANGES
18 UNISON members working for Bromley Council have now received cheques for £3600 in compensation after they took a case against the Council. The compensation was awarded by an Employment Tribunal after it ruled the Council had illegally offered thousands of staff incentives to sign away union rights and nationally agreed terms and conditions. The compensation is welcome but was received without any apology. Unfortunately the Tribunal did not have the power to put us back on our previous contracts and many workers fear the changes make it easier for the Council to make cuts to terms and conditions in future.
TRIBUNAL ORDERS COUNCIL TO COMPENSATE WORKERS OFFERED CASH TO SIGN AWAY RIGHTS
Bromley Council has been ordered to pay more than £64,000 in compensation to 18 of its staff, after an employment tribunal ruled it had offered employees cash incentives to sign new contracts that took them out of existing collective bargaining agreements.
The Tribunal found that Bromley Council had written a series of letters to staff, with one letter offering £200 to workers if they signed new contracts of employment. The series of letters asked employees to agree to a localised pay award which replaced national and regional collective agreements.
Linda Perks, UNISON Regional Secretary, said:
“The decision is a significant victory for our members at Bromley Council who were effectively coerced into signing away their employment rights. It should send a strong signal to other local authorities that they cannot simply withdraw from collective bargaining by going behind the union’s back and making these types of offers.”
The case was brought by 18 UNISON members who did not sign the new contract, some of whom were ultimately dismissed and re-engaged on new terms of employment that included localised pay negotiations. The members are now set to receive £3,600 each.
Employers are prohibited from making offers to union members that have the purpose of changing their contracts so that their terms and conditions of employment are no longer determined by collective agreement.
NEW ON THE TEAM
Meet Myra Wale, the latest recruit to the Bromley Unison Team. Every branch committee can request a Local Organiser and we were lucky enough to get Myra!
Her current quest is to raise the awareness of Bromley members to the latest changes to the pension scheme and has already met with a number of schools to keep members informed. This is also an ideal opportunity to meet with members who are now no longer under Bromley Council’s umbrella and let them know that they are still entitled to Unison’s help.
With so many services being out sourced, Myra’s ability to get out and about meeting people, is a huge bonus! Especially in the schools and academies. Having spent time as both a TA and a HLTA, she is aware of the problems support staff has and is more than happy to answer any other queries that might arise.
“ In my new career as a local organiser I want to increase people’s awareness of Unison by increasing our work place contacts and stewards in Bromley. Getting members involved in their union and increasing our membership. Together we are stronger” Myra explained.
Like most Unison staff, she has always been a member of the union and became more and more active until now she is doing the job full time! If you need her help, please contact the office and if you see her around, please give her a big welcome!