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Unison meetings results are a yes

After the series of local meetings for BCC Unison members on new terms and conditions, Birmingham Branch Secretary Caroline Johnson  issued a statement to all members on Wednesday 26th October. The results of the meetings were that members who attended narrowly voted to accept the proposed terms and conditions . The statement reads:

"I am writing to provide you with feedback following the consultation meetings that we held last week to discuss the Councils proposals to change our contracts of employment.  I want to thank every member that attended the meetings.  Although the turnout was lower than we had hoped for the contributions to the meetings were really helpful and we had a good debate at each session.

As you know since December 2015 we have been in consultation with the council about their proposals and we were in a position to put the final package to members.

At the meetings we conducted a paper ballot on whether or not to accept the changes to our contracts and the members that attended voted by a small majority to reluctantly accept the proposed changes and asked us to sign a collective agreement with the council to reflect this.  54% voted to accept, 44% voted to reject and 2% abstained.  After a thorough debate members felt that although the proposals will have a detrimental impact on many of us there are other fights that we should focus on such as the number of job losses, planned privatisation and service closures.

What happens now

We are due to meet with council tomorrow to discuss the final details of implementation and the timetable but the collective agreement will be put to the Council Meeting being held on the 2nd November.   The new contract of employment will be implemented in the council and ACIVICO from the 1st July 2017 and for Schools in September 2017.

I will write to further update you once we have completed to consultation with the council.

History

In December 2015 the council issued a formal Section 188 Notice stating that they were proposing the following contractual changes for all BCC staff, all maintained school based staff and staff working for ACIVICO:

  • To no longer pay staff for the first 3 days of sickness
  • To cut the sick pay entitlement in half from 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay to 3 months full pay and 3 months half pay
  • Increasing the working week from 36.5 to 37 hours for full time staff for no extra pay and to reduce the hourly pay rates of part time staff
  • Freezing all increments for 3 years
  • Removing night allowance for work between the hours of 8pm and 10pm
  • Removal of subsistence allowance
  • Review of JNC pay
  • Changes to flexible working
  • Single payment for standby allowances
  • Making eligible staff pay £13 per year for their DBS checks

Following months of negotiation with the council, including lobbying, public campaigning and meetings with elected councillors we and the other trade unions have managed to negotiate considerable changes to the proposals.

Proposals that the council agreed to remove

  • There will no changes to the sick pay scheme
  • There will no changes to the working week. Full time staff will continue to be paid for 37 hours and work 36.5 and there will no pay cut for anyone
  • There will be no changes to the Standby scheme
  • Eligible staff will not have to pay for their DBS checks to be carried out

Proposals that the council have agreed to amend

  • Instead of completely scrapping the right to claim subsistence staff will in future only be eligible to claim subsistence allowance when they are away from home for business after 24 hours.
  • Savings will be made on testimonial and long-service rewards by providing certificates of acknowledgement.
  • On performance-related pay:  
  1. for 2016/17 those eligible will be given a one-off payment for that year paid as a lump sum in August.  This will not be incorporated into future salary.
  2. no performance-related pay will be applied from 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017 for Corporate and Acivico employees and from 1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017 for schools employees;
  3. and there will be a joint management and trade union annual review of the ability of the council to give performance-related payments for the periods 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • JNC pay and grading and will be subject to more detailed consultation in order to achieve the required saving of £361,000

Proposals that remain the same

  • Staff will no longer be reimbursed for retirement gifts.
  • A revised single flexi scheme will be introduced as a first step towards promoting more agile working (this policy is non contractual)

The most important thing for us as union members now is to build a stronger union.  We are strong in terms of the number of members but union strength depends on the willingness of the members to be active participants in the union.  If we are to face the challenges ahead and start to win things we will need to use the power that we have as a collective.  If you don’t have a workplace steward in your area then speak to your team and elect one of you to do this.  If no one is willing then please become a workplace contact and help us to distribute information to other members you work with."

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