Friday, 28 August 2015

Latest From Napo 78

Here is the latest blog by Ian Lawrence:-

Unions go back to the Minister over Sodexo fiasco

As we reported to yesterday’s meeting of Sodexo Representatives, we have experienced yet another fruitless week at the coalface in which we held nearly two full days of talks with senior Sodexo management about the voluntary redundancy scheme following a directive by the NNC Joint Secretaries to get back around the table.

These talks followed the receipt of the letter from Michael Gove which we published earlier this week. This upheld the view that Michael Spurr provided some months back that any redundancies announced by Sodexo should attract the Enhanced Early Retirement terms (EVR) as per the National Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement. This view was supported by those Napo and Unison members taking part in the recent indicative ballot who confirmed our view that this was an unacceptable position for the unions.

The blanket refusal to negotiate by this most intransigent company (right up there in my view as about the worst I have experienced and that is saying something) is at times staggering. The Sodexo approach is to have a scripted double answer for nearly every scenario with the bottom line being that EVR is unaffordable and that paying the full amount would merely hasten the onset of compulsory redundancies.

The story so far in short

Sodexo have presented as an unscrupulous organisation who have not entertained any meaningful negotiation with the unions and shown no latitude whatsoever in our exchanges. They have not only changed their approach at the 11th hour in terms of what it is they were actually offering, but have pressed ahead with an unrealistic timetable without members having all the facts available. On the critical issue for staff aged over 55, it is only this morning that Sodexo have accepted that they were wrong on the pension issue and they have now changed their position.

We now know that around 600 staff have indicated an interest in the offer from Sodexo and that there are around 410 departure slots available. On this basis we have suggested that Sodexo could restore some good will and offer a degree of certainty for the remaining workforce by offering a No Compulsory Redundancy Agreement but they are having none of it at this stage.

Our estimate based on feedback from your reps is that between 100 -150 Napo members will leave the six Sodexo CRCs. As you would expect we have put in place all the processes for members who wish to accept what is on offer to access advice from the Thompsons Settlement Service before they sign their settlement agreements. Given the way in which Sodexo have demonstrated their disdain and disrespect for CRC staff, now is a pretty good time to sign up to Napo if you have not done so already. There is no doubt that they won’t stop here.

Even though the negotiations have taken us up a cul-de-sac, the Michael Gove letter indicates that he has some sympathy for the Unions position. In light of this we must explore this avenue to its conclusion and see if the Justice Secretary is willing to intervene in this Sodexo inspired shambles. We are doing (and will continue to do) all that we can to exert more pressure on Sodexo to honour their contractual obligations. My contact with the Ministers Private Office yesterday indicates that the unions follow up letter seeking a meeting with the Minister and Sodexo is already being considered at a senior level within NOMS, so that the Minister can be briefed when he returns to his office next week. I will arrange for further news on developments to be issued as soon as I can.


Our focus on the Sodexo issues has been resource intensive and has stretched us thin at times over these last few weeks, but I can assure you that important work on a range of other issues is ongoing and I hope to be better placed to report on these over the course off next week.

Have you voted in the National Officer Elections yet?

If not there is still time to grab that envelope from the unopened pile or the one that you were going to look at tomorrow as far back as a week or two ago (yes we all have one of those).
The candidates for the vacant National Vice-Chair posts are:

Chas Berry
Charron Culnane
Barry Adams

The candidates for the vacant National Vice-Chair post with Finance responsibility are:

Keith Stokeld
Mona Lim
Chris Pearson

As always I am asking Napo members to consider taking part in the ballot and to recognise that all the candidates are offering to commit a great deal of time and effort in helping to promote your interests. I have always believed that Napo is a reflection of its membership and that our open and democratic structures (which include elections) are there to be used.

Enjoy the Summer(?) bank holiday.

35 comments:

  1. «On the critical issue of staff aged over 55 Sodexo now accepts it was wrong and has now changed its position». WHAT exactly does this mean? In what respect was it wrong? And what is its new position. Will someone from NAPO please explain.

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    1. If your redundant the employer has to fund in strain cost pensions to over 55 we all knew this and so did they it was just a strong arm tactic. The LGPS rules are clear on age limit and also the reductions for early leavers usually 25% but in the case we are describing its pension without reduction. I doubt you will get anything out of NAPO . I read they are working on other things as well . Staggering really they need to work on this please . As the 400 plus go there will not be many left soon. The new treasurer in what sounds like a record low election turn out wont have any income to count . Lets hope we all vote for anyone than the incumbent.

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  2. It's a depressing picture. The high number of applicants for VS is indicative of deep levels of dissatisfaction with the job. The vocation is history. Probation has reached a new low-point in the race to the bottom. Meanwhile the Mephistophelian Nick's of this world will be amply rewarded for their allegiance. Whilst no scales will fall from eyes in respect of Sodexo's tactics it's a reminder of their ruthless business practices and determination to have no truck with collective agreements. They will do what they want with individuals. Their brazen disregard for contractual undertaking shows their contempt for the probation workforce. And yet this is a company that gets Investors in People awards. It's akin to giving such awards to human traffickers.

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    1. Now there is an idea....Any staff member of said company is free to call Investors in People>>> Telephone: 0300 303 3033.Go on, tell your story, tell the truth about just how these companies treat staff, how they really "put people at the heart of their vision".

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    2. IIP wont do or hear it. They are a con trick to get the world to think we are a good employer and all our staff are happy. That is why we bung them a load as doers the government and we all look good. That tele line is for us to record whos splitting on the management so ve can work out who to sack next. Shame this blog is anonymous or you vill be der next on zee list tommy.

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  3. The blog is dead, long live the blog. I'm tired of reading the same inane pessimism, the puerile sniping and point scoring. I speak as a PO who found the blog a source of information and of strength. No longer. Time to get real and move on. No amount of dissent, whingeing, righteousness indignation will recreate probation pre TR. NAPO are crap and any sense of sanctimonious self-righteousness is undone by their passive complicity in allowing the deskilling of the service to go unchallenged in an effective way. If you can live with the status quo, do so. If you can't, move on. THAT IS THE REALITY.

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    1. In the real world reality is negotiable. It's why laws and social mores change over time and why the status quo is challenged, rather than something that one must move with or move away from.

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    2. Typically badly written meaningless guff from the failing GS. What is he trying to say? First he tells us that Sodexo won't move but then he informs us they've admitted they're wrong on the pension issue. People have their livelihood on the line here. Can't he communicate properly or pay someone who can?

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    3. Oh my goodness - if only that were true for this 'real world' we now live in. ... Try telling that to a boat full of desperate refugees. The times they are a changing - the reality of situations near and far, cannot be denied.

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    4. Will someone explain to me what «the pensions issue» is? The deal is either severance lump sum or unreduced pension(55 and over). If you are over 55 and go for severance lump sum the contract requires you to sign to say you will not also seek unreduced pension ie you cant have both. IL previous communication totally misrepresented this. As 17:44 requests, will someone From NAPO explain?

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    5. 1826 read your own blog mate !

      I'm tired of reading the same inane pessimism, the puerile sniping and point scoring

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  4. I think 18.26 is trying to say : There comes a time when you accept it's over. Things have changed, and a new page is turning in your life. You finally accept your pain and grief .Acceptance is one of the longest and most painful stages in the healing process.Accepting your pain is a vitally important part of healing and it means you're on the way to getting over the pain

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  5. Wonder whether anybody in our union has seen a certain film. Surely they must remember this
    Amon Goeth:This is very cruel, Oskar. You're giving them hope. You shouldn't do that. *That's* cruel

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  6. "My contact with the Ministers Private Office yesterday indicates that the unions follow up letter seeking a meeting with the Minister and Sodexo is already being considered at a senior level within NOMS, so that the Minister can be briefed when he returns to his office next week. I will arrange for further news on developments to be issued as soon as I can."

    Too little too late. By 4 Sept most of the VS will have been signed & accepted, & by 7 Sept all will have been sealed up - with Thompsons likely to have pocketed the vast majority of the £300 fees (410 x 300 = £123,000). Not bad for a week's work.

    Oh, and Sodexo have confirmed that any attempts to vary their agreement, e.g to add a caveat as previously suggested by Napo, will invalidate your agreement & exclude you from VS.

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    1. Thompsons are charging £350plus VAT. NAPO ie our subs are paying the top up that Sodexo wont stand. Why are NAPO in bed with them? IL bollocks communication From a couple of days ago said we had to use them Also, of course Sodexo wont accept the addition of a caveat.

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    2. I suspect only Gove can put a stop to this process now. As SoS he holds the "golden" share which I believe means unless he gives his blessing Sodexo can't do shit. That was Grayling's notion of holding the reins of the privateers.

      So as I understand it Gove could tell Sodexo to halt this VS nonsense & pay EVR or pay VS at EVR rates... Or lose their contracts. He could do that now. Gove could stop this travesty in its tracks immediately if he wanted to.

      If he doesn't intervene then he is complicit in, colluding with & condoning Sodexo's illicit employment practices as a key shareholder. He can't claim ignorance of the action, he's already written a letter on the issue & he might then be someone else we can cite as culpable in a group action against Sodexo for breach of contract, etc, etc, etc.

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  7. I for one would have no difficulty "moving on" but the state of constant flux nay chaos, means there is no sense of purpose other than to survive each day. "Move on" to what precisely? Look, it really is as bad as people post here, we have managers deliberately not asking the questions that matter for fear of getting an answer.....That is the world of probation now. This is the time of the Emperors New Clothes.

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  8. I think I tend to agree with 18:26 not about the blog as Jim does a great job keeping it going but maybe with this continuous depressing saga of Sodexo bully boys. We all feel for our gang around the country stuck with this bunch of muppets but please get out if you can. I know this is easier said than done but you have to look after your own destiny because unfortunatly no-one else will. On a brighter note how is everyone out there?

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  9. Which bunch of muppets are you referring to 21:10? NAPO?

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  10. apologies I was referring to Sodexo BB's!

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  11. apologies I meant Sodexo

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  12. Northumbria's deadline extended to 10th September

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    1. Why have they extended? CLCRC deadline 7Sept . When do Northumbria staff departures start?

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  13. Email said "At our last Consultation meeting with the trade unions, they requested that I consider an extension to the current deadline (4 September) for the return of signed settlement agreements. Having considered the request, I'm writing to confirm that this deadline has now been extended to 5 pm on Thursday, 10 September..."

    Exit dates vary from Nov through to next year

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    1. Incredible the 600 buckled on mass if the figure Lawro puts out are correct. That leaves 3.5 people voting for strike action I am just guessing 3 in favour = 98% so the rest have opted in . I think if those 3 strike after departures it will bring the CRCs to a standstill.

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    2. I dont think that the 600 'buckled en masse' at all. Some of the will have seen it as a good opportunity.I know people who have taken it who are very happy with the offer.Good for them I say.Also, whatever you say about Sodexo, and I have said a lot, their communications are no more disingenuous than the nonsense that emanates from NAPO HA. Also, noone noticed the last strike so I doubt the next one will impact.I am not meaning to disrespect others views but this is how it is.

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    3. Thanks for clarifying 22:06. Ours extended too mostly, I think, to allow HR time to process documents and for people to get solicitors. Colleagues that I know who have taken it just want to close the deal.

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  14. Nothing on a test case well take them to an ET for you the members just another plea to ask members to get non members to join, This bloke is just NOT on message with what he is doing here is he ?

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  15. Lancashire previously held a Gold award as an investor in people....it now feels that we have been downgraded to Shit status the way Sodexo are treating us...just be honest about it and tell us that we are being royally shafted and dont get me started about those managers who are banging on about the necessity of change...we are experts at change ....every new ACE that comes in changes things and not usually for the better given that they got so far away from the coal face as soon as possble....

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  16. PS Im up at this time as I cant sleep at the injustice of it all.....this company that has taken over is despicable insofar as its failure to honour agreements are concerned....please look at Sodexo watch to see what the reality is....now im even more angry

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  17. Probation staff working for community rehabilitation companies have announced a walkout.

    The three-hour strike will be followed by two and a half weeks of work to rule action by the employees.

    The Unison-organised move is the second strike this summer, following one on July 14.

    Members are protesting against a zero per cent pay rise offer. It is the fourth year in a row that they have not seen their remuneration increase.

    National officer Ben Priestley said: "The first strike sent a very clear message to the employers that Unison members are serious about getting a decent deal on pay for 2014.

    “By taking this further three-hour strike and following it with action short of strike, we want to show them that they must come back to the negotiating table.”

    Community rehabilitation companies were introduced in February, introducing private companies into the running of low to medium risk probation services.

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  18. From the Share Sale Agreement:

    "Parties

     There will be a standard form Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) to purchase the ordinary share capital of each CRC in each CPA.

     The Authority (Secretary of State) will be the seller under each SPA and the obligations of the purchaser under each SPA (the Purchaser) will be guaranteed by a Purchaser’s guarantor.

    Special share

     The share capital of each CRC will comprise ordinary share capital and a special share capital (sometimes referred to as a "Golden Share"). The Purchaser will acquire the ordinary share capital from the Authority under the SPA. The Authority will continue to hold the special share after completion of the SPA."

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    1. http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/rehab-prog/sale-and-purchasing-agreement-summary.pdf

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  19. As 17.44 and 20.54 ask is there anyone from napo who can clarify what the position change is.

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  20. The company that just screwed me over for £30k of EVR agreed pre-share sale has just offered me 'career transition' advice. First piece of advice: Don't work for Sodexo!! Will I take up this offer? Will I fcuk.

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