Saturday, 1 August 2015

Sodexo Offer Consultation

Here's that joint union consultation document sent to all Sodexo CRC staff:-

JTU 20-2015
Via email:

Date: 28.7.15

To: Napo members in Sodexo CRCs

Dear Colleagues


Napo, UNISON and GMB-SCOOP have spent the last 7 weeks trying to negotiate a better redundancy deal with Sodexo on behalf of our members who are at risk of redundancy in the 6 Sodexo-owned CRCs. Despite our best efforts, the company confirmed on Friday 24 July that it would not improve its sub-standard severance package. This is a tremendous blow to all the hard working staff of the 6 CRCs who now face redundancy under totally unacceptable terms.

As well as trying to undercut the National Negotiating Council (NNC) enhanced voluntary redundancy (EVR) package by half, Sodexo showed themselves unable to come to the negotiating table to do business. They talked the talk, but failed miserably to walk the walk. Sodexo claims to be a company with high ethical principles, but these have not been in evidence here!

As a result, the three unions are now consulting all our members in the 6 Sodexo-owned CRCs on whether you wish to accept the sub-standard severance package, or whether you want to reject it and are prepared to take industrial action in order to seek to improve it. All three unions are recommending that you vote to reject and take industrial action.


Sodexo Severance Offer
2 weeks pay for each year of service up to a max of 30 weeks 

For staff over 55, either the voluntary severance package, or retirement with an unreduced pension

NNC EVR Agreement
4.5 weeks pay for each year of service up to a max of 67.5 weeks
For staff over 55, both the NNC voluntary redundancy package and immediate payment of an unreduced pension.


Here is a list of Sodexo’s shortcomings over your redundancy pay:

  • The NNC Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement states clearly that the NNC EVR package would be offered by CRCs for the duration of the CRC contract. This forms part of your contract of employment. 
  • Sodexo are using a get-out clause in their commercial contract with the MOJ to seek to undercut your contractual entitlement 
  • They also plan to side-step your contractual rights by forcing anyone who wants to take their sub-standard severance terms to sign away their employment rights through a compromise agreement 
  • We suspect that the MOJ may have colluded with the company during the contract negotiations to agree a bid which fell short of the price needed to fund your contractual redundancy pay rights. In effect this was to save the MOJ money! 
  • We have asked the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove to look into this as a matter of urgency.
  • Sodexo has claimed to the unions that it cannot afford to pay you your contractual rights (they are making too many of you redundant) and that existing staff numbers are a drain on the company’s earnings. 
  • But the company is not short of a bob or two. Sodexo Limited’s Accounts to 31 August 2014 show that the company’s sales in the UK have increased by 5.4% to £1,063 million and operating profit has increased by 12.9% to £39.6 million. 
  • Sodexo claims to be an ethical company. In its Statement of Ethical Principles, the company promises to: ‘...honour our contractual commitments and uphold both the letter and spirit of our business arrangements. This also means that we will treat our employees fairly...’
  • Napo, UNISON and GMB-SCOOP leave it up to members to decide whether Sodexo is living up to this claim!

In light of the above, all three unions are now consulting members on whether you wish to accept the Sodexo offer, or reject and indicate that you are willing to take industrial action in order to improve it. All three unions are recommending that you vote to reject and move to an industrial action ballot.

Please make sure that you participate in the consultation process to be run by your union. We will only make an impression on Sodexo if we get a high turn-out in the voting and a strong vote to reject.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Lawrence           
Ben Priestley       David Walton

General Secretary   National Officer    National Secretary
Napo                        UNISON              GMB/SCOOP


  1. Any news on others CRCs like Purple Futures ?

    1. And Working Links who are beavering away on their 'new service design plan' but kept very quiet.

  2. Given probation staff's previous reluctance to come out on strike I'm not holding my breath that a strike would happen. Although with solicitors and barristers effectively on strike by refusing to take new clients under legal aid perhaps it would be a good time for those who have been apathetic in standing up for their rights to realise that it is now or never.

  3. Its all heading in a familiar direction. Take, for example, Whitbread PLC - once a local brewer of Best Bitter, now a multinational hospitality & facilities company (incl Premier Inn, Costa Coffee) with profits recently posted at approx £500M & a workforce of 45,000. In effect the company is run by 60 well paid senior managers in a HQ at Dunstable, with share prices valued at £51 (pleasing the shareholders), whilst the remainder of the 45,000 workforce are paid at or just above the minimum wage, centrally controlled via management financial programmes via ipads or similar. Oh, and they don't recognise unions either. But I guess you knew that, Lenny Henry?

  4. These comments on Whitbread reminded me of an article a few weeks ago about how the taxpayer through in-work benefits subsidise poverty wages whilst their employers rake in profits - and look after the Sir Lennys of this world. This is the so-called neo-liberalism/free market in practice. It relies on the state to provide handouts to its workers.

    'Businesses, of course, would hate having to admit that they expect the state to prop up their poverty wages. They despise “red tape”, after all. Although that doesn’t stop them employing individuals who must submit themselves and their families to miles of red tape and minute government scrutiny because their wages aren’t enough to live on.

    Work in the retail sector is notoriously badly paid, so it should be no surprise that around £11bn in in-work benefit is paid each year to people working in retail. Employees at Next receive more money in pay-rate supplements than the company pays in tax (about £2,087 per low-paid worker). In the last year, Tesco has cost the Treasury £364m in pay-rate supplements. Cameron talks about dysfunctional merry-go-rounds of tax and spend. But the culprits aren’t ordinary people scraping by. The culprits are employers milking the system.'

    1. I really don’t know why the government is making such heavy weather of cutting £12bn off the benefits bill. That sum, and much more, could be cut at the stroke of a pen – though it would mean that the government would have to put its money where its mouth is and make it a legal requirement for employers to pay the living wage. If a company really can’t afford to, then it’s the company that should be applying for supplements, not the people who work for it.

      Cameron wants to curb in-work benefits. No wonder: just £8bn on benefits goes to the unemployed, while an estimated £76bn, according to James Ferguson of Money Week, goes to people who are working. The government says this shouldn’t be happening. Cameron insists employers should be paying wages people can live on – which, funnily enough, is the sort of thing unions say, although they no longer have any power to make it happen.

      It’s what Labour says, too, now the party is out of power. When it was in power, it avoided confrontation with employers offering poverty wages, and with the unions, by kindly offering to make up the difference between the minimum wage and a living wage via the benefits system.

      It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. The Tories excoriate Labour because Labour accepted the Conservative idea that employers should be freed from the burden of social responsibility. Labour spent a lot of money on protecting employers from such irksome duties. The Conservatives still don’t want to impose such irksome duties, but don’t want to stump up for the hefty bill that ensues from failing to do so either.

      Just one of the woeful consequences of Labour’s drive to support employers by supplementing employees is that it makes the figures look like the Department of Work and Pensions is showering taxpayers’ money on the feckless, when it is actually showering taxpayers’ money on businesses. Employing someone has come to be seen as such a noble pursuit that businesses are paid to do it. Businesses don’t, of course, complain that this interferes with the free market. Money spent supplementing wages should be coming from the Business and Enterprise budget, with companies vetted to assess whether they are justified in offering pay below the living wage. Those who are can be offered loans to cover the difference, repayable in much the same manner as student tuition fees. They are hiring staff to grow their own businesses, after all. Such entrepreneurial risk-taking is seen as admirable. But when the taxpayer is taking on so much of the cost, and the benefit-receiving employee is getting so much of the blame, there’s really only sheer nerve and hypocrisy left to be admired.

    2. BIngo - Snap - I was just listening to a BBC programme on the new way of work - so far they have not mentioned the Taxpayer subsidising the employers but have mentioned that a person with supervisory responsibility for 10 people in the hotel and hospitality business - earning - how much do you think -

      Said to be £18 a year - maybe there are some tips but the ten underlyings will be earning less - that is fine until they need to buy school clothing and pay for accommodation for their family.

      the first of a series about 30 mintes from BBC Radio 4

      " The New Employer

      The New Workplace Episode 1 of 5

      Office and factory nine-to-five long ago gave way to flexible and tele-working. Middle management is a ghost of its former pervasive self. Trade unions' once-dominant role in the workplace has been eclipsed. Far-reaching revolution has - and continues - to transform when, where, how and with whom we work - and what we are paid.

      So how do today's workers and those who employ them - plus the growing numbers of the self-employed - see the changes that are taking place across the workplace?

      In a new series exploring how work is being re-shaped and re-defined, Michael Robinson reports on
      the ways in which expectations about how work is organised and rewarded have changed. He considers technology, who does what, pay, qualifications, training and skills and what the changes we've seen tell us about what's going on at work and what it tells us about how we're likely to work in the future.

      In this first programme of the series, Michael considers the role of the employer. "

    3. Whoops - my computer is running away with me - after a 'clean up' and posted whilst I was trying to proof read £18k a year the bod supervising 10 underlings!

    4. Working Tax Credit should be done away with and employers made to bump up the wages. I as a taxpayer object to propping up greedy employers who don't pay their staff properly. Someone working 30 hrs a week on min wage will receive WTC

  5. Do we have to strike if we're in Napo and not in one of the Sodexo CRCs as ours haven't announced any cut back yet?

    1. No, 'we' don't have to, however the whole point of being in a trade union is to show solidarity with fellow members and send a message to employers when they are being as scurrilous as Sodexo currently are. It may not be 'you' (or me, for that matter) that's affected this time around, but it sure as hell will be next time (or the time after that). I dont work in a Sodexo owned CRC, but if I can legally come out on strike (if a strike is called) then I will.

    2. "Do we have to..."? Extraordinary. Perhaps this is why Napo (& maybe Unison/GMB/etc) have no teeth, i.e. much of the membership are perhaps without understanding of the ethos of a union and where its efficacy lies? Maybe its a modern phenomenon linked to a modern perspective? Maybe the non-striking union members simply didn't understand what the strike meant as a collective action because they felt it didn't directly affect them? It feels a very naive, verging on passive-aggressive, stance to take: "do I have to?"; "who's going to make me?"; "are YOU going to make me?"

    3. A good post 2215 but I think it was a fundamental failure. Not of the membership It failed in the people it selects to lead the way . Comrade of type a PO colleague because they will understand what we do , a sort of safety thinking. Does this mean they were best able to understand what a union is about? Process is one thing but suffrage is another and I think the leadership never had the skills to get the importance and risks to membership across effectively. The failure to work with alliances and the rest just spelt failure right through like a stick of rock. The current group despite good intentions are to weak and even if they were capable. way too late. The window of opportunity went a few years back. A few people making the wrong decisions spelt the end as it signalled a green light to government . London branch the sell off of unpaid work saw total failure to take any action .

    4. They will !

    5. 'Do we have to strike if we're in Napo and not in one of the Sodexo CRCs as ours haven't announced any cut back yet?'

      Selfish or what?

  6. I am in the NPS and I will be striking legally to support and solidarity to those colleagues in the Sodexo crcs. And I have friends in those crcs

  7. There is no support for a strike even within sodexo CRC areas. I should know, I am in one.

    1. Global Corporations make global statements I guess.

      So, 22:27, vote it down if you have a vote, open the door & let Sodexo do their thing. But let those that want to strike vote for a strike, in the hope they can make a difference. If the vote says No, then so be it. I won't be badgering anyone to vote either way.

      But in the reckoning, at least I can say I have tried to fight what others said was inevitable. I tried to hold bullies & their abusive practices to account. I tried to expose the greed & the lies & the theft. I can sleep safe in that knowledge, whether its in a bed, in a hostel, in a skip or in a doorway. If a strike offers a platform to shout that message out, I'll grasp that opportunity.

      But that's my choice, 22:27. You don't speak for me.

  8. The fact the letter from the 3 leaders tells members they should choose to strike kinda says to me that people don't want too as it should be a no brainer on striking over this. Menbers have had enough of the unions telling them what to do. One thing that could help the cause is not striking but IL standing down

    1. Not sure on the strategy however you right on IL. He should get out as soon as possible so don't come back from your holiday ,would be acceptable.

  9. I know people in sodexo crcs who r vey supportive of striking

  10. I an not in a Sodexo run CRC but am willing to strike. However, I do have a question. If all Napo members are expected to show solidarity and join the strike, why are all members not being given the chance to vote.

    1. 00:25, I was just about to scream & shout at your post whilst sipping fresh coffee & eating crumbly croissant on my sunny holiday when I read the call-to-arms on this blog (not at work so no Napo emails) & realised that Napo are only asking members in the six Sodexo-owned CRCs to vote for (or against) strike action. In my office that's just me then.

      I'm assuming that only those balloted can strike (if the vote says yes), and other Napo members in other organisations (other CRCs & NPS) are therefore excluded from what would amount to illegal secondary action?

      I have a question for those who are more knowledgeable & savvy about such matters than little dumb me:

      Will this isolate Napo members & leave them vulnerable to being picked off by Sodexo, so is this a trap we're being lured into?

      I will not sign for voluntary severance & believe my T&Cs are legally binding, but I can't get my head around this strategy. Sadly my confidence in strategic decisions by Napo has been seriously damaged.

    2. I pretty much concur with the sentiments Anon at 06:32 is expressing.

      Yesterday I was trying to find on the TUC website some clear explanation of the process of taking Industrial Action but remaining within the law that I could link - but was unsuccessful.

      It is deeply saddening that so many blog readers - some members of Trades Unions - seem to misunderstand despite all the media attention the subject has had down the decades and the fact the new legislation to further restrict the rights of workers is now under active consideration by the Government - even if not yet also by Parliament (I have not kept up with the latest).

      I suspect there is a fear that ANY Industrial Action now will identify TU members to their employers - which maybe relevant especially to employees of anti Union employers like Sodexo,

      I will again give a plug to a recent BBC 30 minute broadcast about the current state of employment. I recommend it to all working in probation, not least because it clarifies at least some issues, for probation workers, but it also informs so that work with supervisees can be relevant and assist rather than confuse - which I fear maybe the case for those supervisors who do not understand - in general terms - who is and is not legally permitted to take industrial action.

      (The New Workplace

      Episode 1 of 5

      Office and factory nine-to-five long ago gave way to flexible and tele-working. Middle management is a ghost of its former pervasive self. Trade unions' once-dominant role in the workplace has been eclipsed. Far-reaching revolution has - and continues - to transform when, where, how and with whom we work - and what we are paid.)

      I wish Anon at 06:32 a good holiday and am sorry it was not possible to ignore the blog during the holiday - I can imagine it is hard to take a complete break in view of the current background of TR and employment uncertainty which must affect most in probation.

      That is something Gove needs to consider if he wants high quality work undertaken that is in the best interests of the public.

  11. the slogan 'a fair days pay for a fair days work' could not be further from the truth. Im working over and above my contracted hours because i'm overworked and fearful of looking incapable. The revised travel allowances has just literally kicked me whilst i'm down. As soon as possible i'm out of probation.

  12. Those of you asking why only Sodexo CRCs are receiving strike ballots - if you work for another crc or the nps you work for a different employer. Therefore you cannot be balloted for strike action as it legally has nothing to do with you.

  13. So I don't have to strike then if I don't work in a sodexo CRC as I'm not effected by this business?

  14. To 00:24 you cannot be asked to strike to support staff (athough they are colleagues)because they are employed by a different organisation. This is a result of anti-union legislation passed in Thatcher yrs to prevent what is called "secondary picketing". Nothing can stop colleagues in NPS or in other CRCs using own time perhaps on rota basis from assisting. Could not stand on picket line but could speak to public/hand out leaflets/make brews etcetc.