On Thursday 9th July management and the trade unions started a 2 day meeting to discuss what we thought would be proposals for new terms and conditions for school support staff to be implemented at the same time as the newly-evaluated pay grades from the lengthy Job Evaluation exercise. However, it became clear that management wanted to re-open discussions on terms and conditions for ALL staff at the Council.
UNISON’s negotiating team comprised of the following;
Nicole Berrisford – Branch Secretary
Paul Berrisford – Assistant Branch Secretary
Julia Redfern – School Steward
Suzanne Bonser – School Steward
Andy Freeman, Regional Organiser
It was made clear that the previous job evaluation exercise had been so flawed (something that UNISON had been complaining about for over three years) that the payline that had previously been implemented in April/May 2014 had had to be totally revisited and as a result the terms and conditions for all staff, not just school staff, were up for negotiation.
UNISON Regional Organiser, Andy Freeman, made it clear that City Council staff had suffered enough uncertainty and that this situation was not of their making and as such staff should not suffer for the mistakes of the past. UNISON was told that the City Council was finding it “difficult to retain experienced staff” due to the previous flawed job evaluation process and as such the Council was keen to implement a revised payline for Council staff as well as implement a new scheme for school support staff. On that basis the trade unions agreed to hear management’s proposals.
The headline proposals from the first set of proposals were as follows;
1 Pay Protection to be reduced from 12,18 and 24 months to 3,6 and 9 months depending on the level of loss
2 three proposed new paylines to be considered, one being a “spot salary” payline (single point grades)
3 No changes to overtime payments
4 No incremental progression for staff pending the introduction of performance related pay
5 An Appeal process where appellants grades could go up, stay the same, or go down
6 No changes to Stand By and Call Out Payments
7 A standard working week of 37 hours to be implemented for school staff (pro rata for part time staff)
8 Term time working (minumum of 39 weeks) for school staff
Management also mentioned that they were aware that the removal of some allowances and unsocial hours payments had “created difficulties in some areas” and were minded to look at these again.
The initial trade union response was given on the afternoon on the 9th and the changes to Pay Protection was rejected. UNISON stated that staff had not been responsible for the previous implementation and therefore should not be made to suffer a detriment as a result. Members had accepted their new grades implemented in 2014 in “good faith” and as a result had made plans based on their salaries. The fact that these could now be unpicked and reduced with less protection was completely unacceptable. We also added that the appeal process should not result in any reductions in grades and that the payments for Stand By and Call Out should be reviewed.
UNISON also drew attention to the lack of incremental progression (effectively a pay freeze) and demanded its re-introduction. As such all the trade unions rejected the proposal of a “spot salary” payline.
Questions were also asked about how “Retainer Payments”, currently made to some school staff, would be included in pay if they were to cease.
Management presented a revised set of proposals on the morning of Friday 10th July. The headlines from this were as follows;
1 The re-introduction of incremental progression from April 2017
2 pay protection of 6, 12 and 18 months depending on loss
3 The removal of the “spot salary” payline
4 No reduction in grade as a result of an appeal
An outline of the main proposals discussed above can be found here; singlestatusproposals2015.html
UNISON still rejects the reduction in Pay Protection and we have a number of concerns about some aspects of the proposals but we would very much like to hear from members regarding these. Please email the Branch at email@example.com with any comments and/or questions
It must be said that for the first time in a long time we felt as though we were actually in a negotiation rather than being simply talked at. UNISON’s views were listened to and compromises are clearly being sought. We’re not there yet but with your support we will hopefully see the light at the end of the tunnel, the long dark tunnel which has been Job Evaluation at Derby City Council!
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