A recent Napo mailout to members in the South West:-
RESPONSE TO RECENT JUSTICE NEWS UPDATES
You will be aware that Paul Hindson has recently published letters from Working Links (15&22 September 2016) on the Working Links Intranet and we thank him for his efforts to be “transparent” in his communications. These letters are addressed to Union leaders in Napo, Unison and GMB in response to a dispute brought about by the Unions that has been going on since June this year. Interestingly in all of Mr Hindson’s communications and “listening calls” he has failed to raise this matter in until this week when raising the issue of the Unions unwillingness to participate in local CRC JNCC meetings.
Let me clarify this issue. Local JNCC meetings have not taken place since July due to the Unions being in dispute. This is not an unusual position given the matters in the dispute are the same matters that would be under discussion at local JNCC’s and being led by Napo’s General Secretary Ian Lawrence. If you have been reading the Branch Updates you will be aware that WL have been requested by the Unions to put matters on hold whilst this dispute is live but they have refused to do this.
We await the NNC Joint Secretary’s decision on the hearing that took place last week but in the meantime I would like to point out a couple of matters highlighted in Justice News 4 & 10 October 2016.
This was first announced to Wales CRC on 27 September 2016 much to the surprise of the local Union branch. It was announced as a “Voluntary Redundancy Package” under the Transformation Scheme. Since 4 October in Justice News it has been referred to as the Voluntary Severage Package. Members will be aware that this is less then the EVR package that has been previously given to Senior Management and Corporate Staff. WL think this is fair and equitable to offer to staff. Why? Most likely because it offers less than our current Redundancy Policy . This is why we are advising members to sit tight if offered this. AND yet....... Paul Hindson promotes this as a “positive package” for those who wish to leave the business.. What do you think?
No surprise then that local JNCC Reps are being invited to a meeting on 17th October to review the current DDCCRC whilst staff are currently at risk of being made compulsory redundant. It is stated that the policy is overdue for review – well I haven’t looked but I’m sure there will be other policies also overdue for review but the redundancy Policy seems to be the most urgent. I wonder why?
I would urge you to look again at the Branch Chairs recent response to John Wiseman regarding the issue of Early Retirement rather than repeat it again here. This was sent out yesterday. Justice News states that those over 55 are able to apply for Early Retirement as an alternative to the “voluntary severance scheme”. As you will be aware, any person over the age of 55 can leave and immediately access their pension, albeit at a reduced rate. I am not clear how this then disbars them from being eligible for the voluntary severance scheme. It was agreed to announce an Early Retirement Scheme but this has not been forthcoming.
BUSINESS CASE FOR STAFF REDUCTIONS
Paul Hindson makes much of the fact that he has had a “full and frank discussion” regarding WL’s business case for redundancies with the leads for Napo and Unison. This is not good enough. Under the current DDCCRC Redundancy Policy management are required to provide such information to local JNCC’s once redundancies are being proposed. This information has been requested since the start of this process and has only now been disclosed and then not to those who should be in receipt of the information.
PLEASE be reminded that the intention of South South Western Branch is to protect YOUR employment terms and conditions and that is what this is all about. Urge non union member colleagues to join us now and remind them that they also benefit from Unions via National Collective Bargaining.
Here's some of the correspondence previously referred to and recently circulated to all members in the South West:-
5th October 2015
In relation to today’s JNCC and you initiating a formal consultation process for redundancies in the DDCRC area. This having been proposed through your power point presentation slide 43. We note your comments that using the word “precautionary “before consultation would somehow alleviate the implications for our members.
We on the Trade Unions side do not consider the use of the “precautionary” provides our members with any protection and we are not complacent about the use of this word. It does not reduce the implications and therefore we are treating the meeting as formal notice to redundancy process. Because you were not clear on the staffing model its design, budget, or numbers of people it is difficult for the Union representatives to understand the scale of what you are indicating. This vagueness leaves us with no alternative than to consider the worst implication for our members and work towards their protections. On that basis I draw your attention to page 7 of the process following the agreed redundancy procedure for this DDCRC area. Take note of the periods and numbers. Knowing those issues will give you an indication for my level of concern as to the size of cut to staff that was being inferred from the presentation.
In relation to your 70s style comment of trade Unions debate. We find it taxing with constant management attack. The obvious and common language through these issues are understood. Both your own style and team assertions are just as upsetting to our side of the table, only we do not complain as a distraction tactic or grandstand on it. I hope we move forwards keeping our members interests paramount.
With that said I want to ensure you and the working links people engage properly and the introduction of catch all or coverall words have no place in the agreed procedure, which, you will realise form part of every one of our Unions members working terms and conditions.
In relation to measures that include exit by way of all voluntary applications across all staff grade and for any voluntary early retirements, we will of course keep a listening brief to assist our members in those potentials. I would hope you will be announcing these sorts of options to the Unions and the staffing. I also invite you cease any further consultation process on Compulsory redundancies.
Without a budget or workload staffing projections at the very least the suggestions today are ill conceived and premature in our view. Following the awaited blue print the work details and task allocations will need to be assessed against workload weighting calculations and these have to be consulted on with the trade Unions under the WPEC agreement.
Dino Peros Napo Branch Chair
CC Ian Lawrence General Secretary Napo
D. James G Curtiss Unison H. Coley JNCC
Date 10th February 2016
John Wiseman Probation director DDCRC.
⦁ Firstly thank you for the manner in which you conducted the meeting of the JNCC on the 4th of February. While it appears we both appreciate technical arguments there remains the need to maintain an “on guard” stance so to speak. Fear, perhaps of making significant mistakes no doubt, but your tone and relaxed style was well received here so that we could move forwards on the outstanding issues.
⦁ The JNCC was interesting as it both settled some immediate disagreements and in my view the passage of time had effectively seen these being overtaken by the regional pan meetings. Also, it highlighted the importance of moving away from too much formality to try and engage in the substantive issues that we may have an influence on locally within the DDCCRC and possibly onwards to the wider structure.
⦁ During our meeting we engaged the issues surrounding the formality of the JNCC recognition arrangements. Coincidently I had written to Napo our General Secretary last October in relation some aspects of the quality and interpretation of the national model JNCC agreement. Given my previous and well documented concerns about Working Links avoidance of responsibilities as an employer, in relation to a case that has made some small contribution to case law. The PCS union case relates directly to the heart of recognition negotiation and agreements activity. The fact that Working Links won, what appears to me at least, to be a tenuous and hard line approach to treating union arrangements constructively. You might at least recognise the concerns we raise, even if you do not appreciate them. I accept the outcome as decided but do not have to fall into the same trap. This is why the recognition and status of the employer is critical, if matters deteriorate to a point whereby we seek external resolutions for detriment to our members.
In relation to the terms of reference model recognition agreement specifically
⦁ Section 5 C . Of course we agree it makes absolute sense to remove the existing name and replace it with yours although the issue of who is secretary to the board is not now clear at all given the explanation we have received from you and our understandings of your responsibility as the employer. It is an obvious conclusion that being named in this way will leave responsibility on you. As such that has to be clearly underwritten in the form of appropriate authority and legal cover should anything improper happen to staff. Alternatively, it may be that you take appropriate advice and offer an alternative name if that be more appropriate in the chain of command. I have included the General Secretary into this correspondence for his consideration. I have spoken to Mike McClelland who has reservations but is likely to run this past legal advisors to ensure we get the position right. On this matter we will now have to await that activity. The benefit of this it may well be a situation that can be duplicated for other areas of NAPO interest.
⦁ In relation to your commentary in section 5 a (i). I had hoped that we would agree a pragmatic approach to the specified numbers. After all, it is not like your recent practice has adopted the model. In fact your letter of the 27th November paragraph 11 makes the case for 4 aside and you name the people as I do here. Your team, which we accept include Diane Powell Marie Kyme yourself and Elaine Morgan. The latter was also expected in your open telephone dial in on the 4th, although that failed to work. Sorry to state the obvious but your team is generally four. Reducing the number of reps on the TU side to three is not working towards a consensus. Your side to date has maintained a complement of 4. On the 5th October it included Mr Clewlow, HR a teleconference and ACO. That said, the spirit is to match sides in equal numbers and currently we are not likely to increase our representatives from the NAPO side as we have 2 PO reps from each county area and myself in Devon. This provides a good cross grade view and our representative from Unison covers the remaining administrators and other grades totalling the same as you currently field. We therefore have the basis of an agreement here. Four on each side. We would also like to revisit the role of observers to JNCCs especially at this time. Historically, recognition policy has provided observers and these are contained in the national models NNC terms. However, the quality of the current terms of reference appear to have missed these important features for members.
⦁ Further, in our discussions we raised the issue of appropriate facility time. Currently the NAPO branch is complemented by a number of hours that are divided amongst the representatives who are duly elected. We manage the appropriate process. We have joint recognition with Unison but how they legitimately field their representatives is a matter for them. Napo utilise its full allocation of time. The 3 JNCC reps have a half time allowance which is pro rata. Napo have three S188 redundancy notices issued to the branch and national officials. Local negotiations have increased to weekly meetings that include a JNCC minutes, agenda, preparations, letter writing and reviewing of the constant changing indications from management. We are required to consult first hand with our members at both branch and office based meetings, report and record issues, and now, under the formal consultation periods of your opening period of 45 days. We have to ensure we meet all grades affected take soundings offer assurance and manage their unique circumstances in surgeries at office based meetings. Cross grade representations have to be managed and all matters recorded. The Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act (TULRCA 1992) make it clear unions are to be afforded appropriate time off for a range of consultative duties. I appreciate you recognise the issues and the traversing the geography that has in itself time implications. We seek at least 3 Napo full time reps to be released to conduct this work properly and to engage meaningfully.
⦁ We do not agree the consultation period of 45 days. Our locally recognised collective agreement states a 90 day limit and this is our operational policy. Yet again it is unclear when this period commences given your serious and significant revisions dated the 3rd of February. We had a meeting on the fourth of February at a JNCC held in your office. Figures were discussed, confidentiality was mentioned and at no time did you appropriately notify us, the recognised trade unions, of this incredible addition to the figures. Your office failed to notify us appropriately as required, of the changes which were communicated today by e mail late afternoon 10 2 16 This is not the first time figure of staffing information appear to have been withheld from the Unions. Mr Hindson is also on record for making a statement on figures known dates but the written evidence contradicts his account.
⦁ Turning attention to the wider conversation on the responsibility of the employer to define the business case for redundancies. We refer to our NAPO letter dated the 30th November 2015. This letter was in response to your case for consultation letter dated the 27th November 2015. In that document you rely on stated evidence for which you reasoned dismissals would become necessary in the DDCCRC. In your paragraph four you have stated 25 workshops and 35 processes reviewed. We have asked for your workings out and refer you back to the letter of the 30th 11 15 sections 5 through to ten. Please ensure the workings out of your evidence to make such changes is supplied to the Unions for our understanding. We require an accurate calculation as to the percentage cut to staff, in the DDCCRC. The latest increase today does not reflect the claimed 40% . Worse still, despite your claim a further 100 jobs have been saved by an additional number of hubs being arranged, this has not produced any saved jobs in this area, unless you tell us otherwise.
⦁ It appears that DDCCRC is to bear the biggest proportional cut than any other territory. In the several meetings since the letter you have replied that Napos letter of the 30th is with your lawyers and that it will be replied to. On the 4th of February you could not recall having said that. I remind you that in fact you made the commitment openly in the Pan meeting at Worle on the 15th 12 15. I appreciate it may have slipped your mind however, I have recorded notes from our meetings on the 15th and the 16th 12 15 where you made two further references that a reply from the lawyers to the letter of the 30th 11 15 will be forthcoming. This was reported in the branch report the 22 12 15 see below.
Napo’s letter to Mr Wiseman.
⦁ Regarding Napo’s branch letter to Mr Wiseman dated the 30th November ‘15. There was a small acknowledgement in an e-mail from Mr Wiseman having made the just ‘noted’ comment. However, we have pushed on with the serious issues and we have been promised answers to our questions from the lawyers. Who’s lawyers, CRC or Working Links? We wait to see. Napo would prefer to see these legal costs diverted into savings for jobs along with the £15.00 per person Christmas contribution that is continuing, rather awkwardly, to be available for substantive staff only. It is another morale sapping gross error of judgement by the Working Links senior management. We have made this point to them, our comments also being dismissed as ‘noted’. When our NAPO branch receives the promised written response we will publish and report on it.
⦁ You have made several references to a formal response coming, we would like to see you honour your word. The pan meetings have not changed the accountability process in the local DDCCRC and we expect a formal reply to the trade unions side’s appropriate and reasonable questions. We continue to press for disclosure of your evidence for the model and we are entitled to see it. We have not been duly or adequately informed of any material facts that support your planned dismissals of staff in this reorganisation. We are not in a position to make informed decisions without appropriate facts. In relation to the EVR plan to administrative staff starting on the 15th February 2016.
⦁ Of course Napo have to reject the use of any dismissals at all stages for frontline staff. We have still not seen any business case that facilitates the drive in direction for the reorganisation you have chosen. There is no releases of how this design has been arrived at. The hurried implementation and undisclosed WAV figures are an incredible way to initiate dismissals before establishing any legitimate case to do so and in the absence any consultation process. To date neither the national union officials nor local officials have had appropriate or full opportunities to review and work in ways that minimise the impact of cuts to our members. There has been no formal think tank exercise or review period for reconsideration yet despite this Management have engaged a release plan of staff who have a range of specialised training and well practised skills for their particular areas and geography taking account of local nuances and teams knowledge.
Management’s intention to strip away the underlying staff that hold up many of the frontline service delivery functions will automatically place other staff under considerable strain and job changes. It leads to forced office closures in the plan to move to hubs. This a gross error in the longer term of public protection and appropriate comprehensive case management.
However, it is not too late to suspend your plans until properly considered at the negotiating table with the Unions. We had taken notes of Mr Hindson written direction that this is not something he would delay but again we make the point this is not an agreed position, it has not been properly consulted, and certainly has no agreement to the proposition of cutting frontline staffing. Despite the voluntary arrangements offer this is not an agreed model to premise a service delivery that has no tested prospects of a safe or better service provision.
Dino Peros Napo Branch Chair SSW.
Cc Ian Lawrance GS Mike McClelland Napo National Official
JNCC Reps Unison