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October Important Update – Terms & Conditions and Legal Advice

In last week’s bulletin to UNISON members we stated we would update on the two important aspects which we are involved with this week.

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  • Request to Paul Robinson, CEO, to delay implementation of T&C’s to allow us more time to assess the impact of the change and for schools to be able to prepare for this change.
  • The legal advice we have sought and what the response from this is.

Following a written request to the employer, we met with the employer side on Monday 19 October where this request was discussed.



The employer side confirmed that they would give consideration to this new request from UNISON. However the employer side reiterated that the final proposal for schools and therefore the full impact will not be known at this stage. UNISON are clear that there will be an impact for members working in schools, whether there is a temporary reprieve or some other proposal. It is apparent that each school is looking at a different way to find a remedy to this situation, which is creating a lack of consistency across the authority.

This is something which UNISON are further concerned over and strengthen our belief that additional time is needed to assess this situation, the impact and come up with a better solution for all staff. We rely on our members to share with us the discussions being held in schools. Our Schools Convenor, Sue Bonser is collating this information already and we urge you to stay in touch with her on this matter (email –


UNISON is committed to supporting Derby City members in the most comprehensive way we can. This includes seeking expert opinion to help support local negotiations. Your Branch Secretary, Nicole, has attended an urgent meeting today with our legal team and this is a summary of the advice we are able to share:

  • The situation in Derby City is one of the most complex which UNISON have had to work with. Following our meeting with our legal team our position remains the same, UNISON are not in a position to reach a collective agreement nor ballot our members on the current proposals.
  • UNISON legal team have concerns about the potential equal pay liabilities which are growing and therefore have now started an investigation process into potential equal pay claims in Derby City. Please be aware we don’t want to raise false hope or expectations of equal pay claims being successfully awarded to UNISON members but this is something which we are currently investigating.
  • It is apparent that Derby City Council want to seek to reach individual agreement with all staff on the new T&C’s. If they cannot achieve this then they will have to dismiss and reengage staff to impose these changes. Please be clear, you will lose money if the changes as proposed are implemented. Whether this is a loss in pay or loss due to the removal of Spinal Column Points, or allowances or working hours. Therefore it is not in your interests to agree to the proposed changes or “offer” from your employer and this is why UNISON are not in a position to collectively agree on behalf of our members as it has such a dire impact on your finances.
  • Our legal team have validated the claim which Nicole Berrisford has made during these negotiations that there is a concern that the employer is calling this a Single Status process, which is intended to bring all parts of the authority together under one (single) set of pay and Terms and conditions of employment. However Derby City has chosen not to include staff on JNC, Head Teachers & Teachers and those on Craft and Soulbury Terms nor Chief Officers. Therefore this is not truly single status and we are increasingly concerned that this creates new potential Equal Pay claims which we are investigating.

We are now seeking a timetable from your employer on the next steps they plan to take. We are keen to ensure UNISON members are fully supported during the process of individual consultation and in response to any “offers” which the employer sends out to you. Any advice, legal or otherwise will only be for UNISON members and is there to ensure you are meaningfully supported. This will not be widely circulated. This will be individual advice on your individual contract of employment for our members only.

Please urge colleagues who aren’t members of UNISON to join, as we can only advise and take recourse on behalf of UNISON members.

Please share this post with your colleagues.

Nicole Berrisford -Branch Secretary