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Proposed Changes To Our Contracts

Birmingham City Council is proposing to change our terms and conditions to save £15 million in 2017/8 rising to £18 million in 2018/9. The proposals are planned to come into effect from April 2017, ie in 14 months time fpor COuncil employees and 1 January 2018 for schools support staff.

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Increase the working week from 36.5 to 37 hours and cut hourly pay for part time staff by 1.4% No pay for the first three days of every sickness absence. Reduce sick pay to a maximum of 3 months full pay and 3 months half pay 
No increments for 3 years. This takes effect from the 2017/8 financial year. Reduce Night Working Payments Review All Flexi Time Schemes across the council
Staff to pay for Disclosure and Barring (DBS) annual checks Reduce Standby Payments   Remove subsistence expenses for those away on business

UNISON is extremely concerned that yet again the Council is cutting the pay, terms and conditions of its staff. This will particularly impact on low paid staff, disabled members and those whose health has been damaged by working conditions in the city council itself. Many thousands lost up to a third of their pay in 2011 when weekend and shift allowances were removed. We are being asked to take more cuts again.

There are two ways the council can change our contracts. Either they can reach a collective agreement with the recognised trade unions; or they will have to conduct meaningful consultation and then serve a 12 week notice to dismiss all staff and re-engage them on the new contract. That’s what they did in 2008 and 2011.

Negotiations have started between the unions and HR about the proposals.

This is the first time that our contracts have been threatened under a Labour council leadership. Previously the Tories and Lib Dems have been in control. We are lobbying the Labour Group

Schools Staff Also Under Attack

The Council will be making the same changes of contract terms and conditions for Schools Support Staff covered by the Birmingham Schools Contract. They say they must do this to avoid a possible equal pay risk if Council staff have a different contract to Council-controlled schools staff.

Schools do not have the same budget cuts as the Council but will still get the same cuts in their Contracts terms and conditions. The changes will take effect in schools from 1 January 2018

But the Council is not changing the contracts of Teachers. So this will create a huge divide between staff in the same school. For example, a Teacher would be paid for the first three days of sickness but a Teaching Assistant in the same class will not be paid.

Already most school support staff are paid for term time hours and are part timers. They will get a 1.4% pay cut when the working week is increased. Teachers are not term-time only and will get no pay cut.

What Are We Doing About The Contract Changes

  1. We are in weekly talks with the Council on these proposals, seeking information on the impact on members and exploring alternatives, such as cuts in the £45m annual spend on Agency staff.
    We are spreading word amongst our membership about the proposals, organising workplace meetings
  2. We are lobbying the leadership of the council and the Labour Group
  3. We have permission from management to call mass members meetings in works time for Council staff and we will call these when there is an outcome from the negotiations.
  4. We will be asking members to PLEDGE you will attend one of these members meetings so that we know you are ready to take part in deciding how to fight these attacks, including by industrial action if needed.
  5. We have prepared a survey for all members on the proposals which will go out once the Pay Consultation exercise is completed.
  6. We will be lobbying the full Council meetings. We are organising a Rally outside the April 5th Council meeting. This is in the Easter Break so our schools members should be more able to take part.
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