2nd December 2016
ACAS TALKS IN BALANCE AS SUBSTANTIVE REPLIES ARE AWAITED ON A RANGE OF ISSUES - MEMBERS MEETINGS BEING ORGANISED
Union representatives meet in Bristol today to review the latest position in respect of the dispute between Napo, UNISON, GMB and Aurelius/Working Links.
The position so far
Since the interim directive from the NNC Joint Secretaries that the parties should invite the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service (ACAS) to facilitate ongoing dialogue, there have been a series of meetings in London and Bristol, one of which has included a claimed representative from Aurelius, the German based company who are the owners of Working Links.
The nature of the discussions held under the auspices of ACAS are necessarily confidential and this has prevented us from issuing detailed updates as quickly as we would like. The position that we have reached is that at the time of writing the trade unions are awaiting a substantive response to correspondence which has been sent to the employers side via ACAS. Our expectation is that we would receive a reply to a comprehensive letter that we issued on the 13th November and a number of key issues that we have raised immediately following the last joint exchanges which took place at the ACAS offices in Bristol.
The unions have informed the ACAS Conciliators that we are prepared to continue to meet to take part in an urgent review of the operational model, but that we have reached a critical stage in the proceedings and need to see signs that the employers side are taking our concerns seriously.
While we consider what may be left of value at the ACAS table we wanted to take this opportunity to say how hard your team of local reps have worked to further your interests during the unions campaign to save jobs, secure information for the purposes of collective bargaining and call the proposed operational model that Aurelius/Working Links are seeking to impose across their three CRC's to account.
The next steps
Irrespective of developments through ACAS (whose efforts are very much appreciated by the unions), we have told the NNC Joint Secretaries that we want the parties to be called in to report back on the current situation, and that we feel that a representative from NOMS Contract and Commercial Directorate should also be available given what we have discovered over the period of the dispute.
We are also seeking a legal view about some of the options open to us in the event that dialogue through ACAS fails to produce a breakthrough.
The unions also believe that we need to meet with our members as soon as we practicably can to hear what you have to say, and plans are being made to set up consultative meetings, so please look out for further details.
What you can do
There are a number of things that employees working in the 3 Aurelius/Working Links CRC's can do. Firstly if you are not a member of a trade union, then please join one! A legally recognised trade union is the only means by which your employment rights can be protected within the collective agreements that are enshrined as part of your terms and conditions.
Secondly, you can provide your union reps with feedback about the impact of the operational model on you as an individual, or as a team. All information which should be sent from your private address or e mail and will be treated in confidence.
You can also ensure that your line manager is aware of any difficulties or health issues that you may be facing as a result of excessive caseloads or a working environment that you believe is unsafe. Please keep a record of such exchanges.
Depending on developments either side of this weekend, it is likely that we will know fairly soon if the ACAS talks are to continue, and the unions will be issuing more news just as soon as we can.
Meanwhile our appreciation to all our members for your continuing support at this difficult time.
IAN LAWRENCE General Secretary Napo
GLYN JONES Regional Organiser UNISON
DAVID WALTON National Secretary GMB/SCOOP