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Who’s Kidding Who on Terms & Conditions

and set forward proposals that would require only one quarter of the workforce to bare the full impact of the councils required savings. You’ve guessed it, Frontline Services.

Late last year, Unison and GMB officers were invited to take part in a consultation process on modernising staff terms and conditions with a view to achieving a savings target of aprox £1.2M. The council had previously employed a consultant to lead in proposal meetings with staff and subsequently assist the council in these negotiations. During these negotiations, Unison provided sensible proposals that would achieve the required savings whilst mitigating the affects on staff and services. Amongst these was a review of the proposal to remove Essential Car Users Allowance, Unisons proposal would have seen those with essential need to carry out their daily duties keep the allowance to cover the increased insurance and maintenance costs, annual savings of £200,000 have already been saved at the last review.   

Sadly, at the last minute GMB officers withdrew due to ‘their regional stance’ on not wishing to discuss or mitigate these proposals. This sadly played right into the hands of the council who immediately curtailed the consultation process. Could we be cynical and wonder if this was the plan all along if the council didn’t get what it wanted as it would be mostly Unison members who would be affected? To add insult to injury the branch now understands that the consultant is and continues to cost this council around £5,500 per month for an average 2 days a week which is not far off the annual take home salaries of some of our members.

The idea that the council wishes to ballot over 4,940 members of staff on changes that will only have a major impact on 1,700 or so is quite honestly the most undemocratic and contrived process this branch has encountered and if the proposals put forward are similar to those discussed with the unions then it will be the front line services that will bear the brunt of the cuts. The manifesto promises made by the incoming Labour administration to protect frontline services now seem very hollow as they will propose that these hardworking staff now work unsociable hours and weekends and bank holidays on flat rate pay. The icing on the cake would be an enforced change to staff contracts forcing some individuals to work weekends, thus removing the rights of many Christian staff to attend Sunday Church services and put at risk anyone from the Jewish faith that currently has Saturday working as a voluntary option.

To attempt to pacify our members with the statement that 23 of the highest paid council workers could see an average £2,800 reduction in salary is an insult when most of these individuals earn well over £100,000 a year and would see this loss mitigated by incremental increases and bonuses. The icing on the cake for the council is the proposal to revise and reduce the council’s redundancy compensation scheme which we believe is solely to pave the way for a raft of enforced redundancies and possible outsourcing of services.

Now is the time for Unison members to fix bayonets and make a stand. The branch needs your support to get the council to re-engage with us on these vitally important issues that affect you. Unison Harrow branch have raised a petition condemning the actions of the GMB union and its branch officers in withdrawing from the negotiations. We would look to all our 2,600 members to sign this petition to persuade the council to re-open negotiations with this union.

Harrow Unison LG Branch          

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:47

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