As many of you will be aware the Personnel Committee at its meeting on Thursday 30th June voted to reduce the money that staff being made redundant will receive through a reduction of the redundancy multiplier from 2 to 1.5.
The Branch would like to thank all those members of staff who turned out yesterday afternoon to let the Councillors on the Personnel Committee know of their strength of feeling about the proposal to reduce the payments to our colleagues who may be facing the loss of their jobs, either now or in the future.
UNISON’s Co-Branch Secretary, Dave Pearson, gave an impassioned speech, highlighting the risk to the goodwill, loyalty and commitment of staff that Councillors depend on to deliver the services of the Council. Councillors were informed that a decision to reduce the redundancy multiplier would send a clear signal to staff that their feelings about not being valued are correct.
On the back of the recent staff attitude survey, which highlighted the significant feeling amongst staff of being undervalued, this decision can only add weight to that feeling.
Much debate was had between Councillors regarding the difficult decision they faced and the portfolio Member for HR, James Fredrickson, threatened more redundancies if Councillors did not vote in favour of this proposed saving.
Concerns were raised at the meeting regarding the appropriateness of the equality impact assessment, the small amount of survey data used to justify a reduction and the real financial cost of the loss of goodwill, morale and value felt by staff.
Your Branch is aware of the significant number of unpaid hours many staff work to ensure services of the Council are provided, and this was raised at the meeting many times by members and non-members of the union. The true cost of this decision was called into question as staff felt strongly that in future their goodwill to undertake unpaid work will disappear, resulting in a much greater cost to the Council than the potential saving from the reduction in redundancy payments that was reported.
Whilst the goodwill and commitment of staff was acknowledged by Councillors during the debate, disappointingly Councillors voted to accept the recommendation to reduce the redundancy multiplier to 1.5, whilst committing to a further meeting of the Personnel Committee when changes to statutory redundancy payments are brought forward by National Government. Councillors also requested that a study of unpaid overtime is prepared for the next meeting.
Your Branch will continue to represent its members and raise this and other issues with Senior Management and Councillors. However we urge all members of staff to keep a true record of all of the hours they work, paid and unpaid, to help identify the cost of goodwill that keeps this Council operating. Clearly Members of the Council do not value the unpaid hours many of the staff undertake. In continuing staff are enabling this Council to cut employees and services and take advantage of their professionalism and integrity even further. It seems that the more overtime you work the more that becomes expected.
Keep an eye on our website and monthly bulletin for future campaigns on this and other matters.
Should any non-members of the union wish to join to support this and other campaigns please contact your local rep or the Branch Secretary on 01635 519168 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Together we are stronger.