SODEXO REFUSE TO IMPROVE THEIR SHODDY SEVERANCE SCHEME
Given the way in which this company have conducted themselves in their dealings with the unions over the last month or so, it's not a great surprise that they have refused to improve the severance scheme offer that they eventually published to staff in their CRC's on the 16th July.
As we have previously jointly reported and will be doing so again as regularly as we can, Napo, Unison and GMB have spent many fractious and exasperating hours (no, make that weeks) trying to understand precisely what it was that we were being presented with. Below is a truncated history of developments which sets out the real facts as to what has been going on.
Originally way back in June, the Sodexo representatives claimed that they were seeking to vary the NNC Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy terms which led us to challenge this using the National Negotiating Council Joint Secretaries who directed the parties to enter into substantive negotiations.
Its pretty clear now that Sodexo never had any intention of negotiating on their proposals since it was only on the 16th July that they told staff and the unions (without sharing their literature with us beforehand) that what CRC staff were actually being offered was not a redundancy scheme at all but a vastly inferior version of an early severance package.
Whilst I am prepared to accept that some of this was originally due to a lack of understanding on their part in that it was not just the operations, but the collective bargaining machinery that they had been sold, there has been plenty of time for them to reflect and come back with at least some improvement on their sub-standard offering.
That they have not, will raise real questions amongst members as to whether they even considered it.
Its ironic that todays news comes four days after we met with Sodexo last Monday to urge them to reflect on the serious damage this approach will bring to staff relations, and our attempts to constructively engage with them and the CRC's under their ownership. Throughout this sorry tale they have constantly berated the trades unions for taking to long to respond but have deliberately delayed a response to see how many staff they can intimidate into making an application. I cannot tell people not to do so, but I can say its a con-trick of the highest order.
By the way, I actually have some sympathy with the CRC Chiefs in Sodexo's empire. Their traditional role of negotiating meaningfully with the unions has been reduced to that of being messengers of despair for the disingenuous profiteers who now run the probation services within their contract areas. How sad does it get?
In a climate where our members fear for their jobs and their families future, whilst being patronisingly told by Sodexo that the company can't afford full EVR terms, the company ought to expect their CRC staff to be livid about this situation.
The unions anticipated this eventuality, and I expect us to have finalised our plans to consult with our members on this despicable offer and the conduct of the CRC owners and test the water about the willingness for industrial action. As I said to members in Northumbria this week, it may soon be time to step up to the plate and use the only language that outfits like Sodexo really understand. As always, Napo's future direction on this will ultimately be guided by our members.
Finally, can I just mention that Napo members working in the Sodexo CRC's,should look out for more news on developments early next week. Please ensure that you speak with your local reps or Napo Link Official if you have questions or require further clarity about any of the regular information that the union publishes.
Thanks for your continuing support and loyalty in these desperate times.