Author Topic: Stop the attack on UNISON  (Read 7226 times)

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Offline Martin Wicks

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Stop the attack on UNISON
« on: February 15, 2012, 04:08:41 PM »
Stop the attack on UNISON - Lobby of Swindon Council, 23rd February 6 p.m.

Please publicise to your networks, and join us in lobbying Council next Thursday.

Swindon Council is setting its budget on Thursday 23rd February 2012. Included in the budget is a proposal to cease the central funding of two part-time UNISON posts, Branch Secretary and Assistant Branch Secretary, who have their legitimate trade union facility time paid for in this way.
 
The Council is proposing to make the two post-holders, Bob Cretchley and Karla Bradford, redundant.

It is also proposing to cut 50% of the funding for the UNISON Service Conditions post, held by Roger Averies.

This is a vindictive attack upon UNISON and the individuals concerned, and will be strongly resisted by UNISON.

To demonstrate opposition to this proposal, we are asking for support at a lobby of the Full Council Meeting on 23rd February, 6.00pm, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.



Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 04:59:22 PM »

Blatantly plagiarised and adapted from Martin Niemoller.


    "First they came for the care workers and park rangers,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a care worker or a park ranger.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    When the trade unionists were gone they came for the cleaners, drivers and gardeners,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't one of them either.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me."


When they've got rid of the Unison posts they'll set about the remaining council workforce with a vengeance.

Speak out.



Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »
When they've got rid of the Unison posts they'll set about the remaining council workforce with a vengeance.

Speak out.

And put out all the remaining work to contractors over whom we will never have any control.

Speak now or lose the opportunity to do so for the forseeable future!!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline PAV

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 06:51:10 PM »
I think if this became common knowledge far more people would be outraged that is it going on, than would be that it is going to end.

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 06:58:29 PM »
What exactly is "going on" PAV?

ph1lc

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 07:06:11 PM »
This does seem to be typically short sighted. In the current economic climate Councils up and down the country are going to be faced with some incredibly difficult and often unpopular decisions. Surely it must make sense to work with the union - and people who know the Council set up to boot, rather than pick a needless fight.

But that's just typical of Rodders and his merry band of incompetents.

Offline Scott Thunes

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 07:10:05 PM »
This is a clear test-case for the rest of the country and the whole trade union movement and must be challenged at every level.

It is also a blatantly obvious attempt by poor, delicate Roderick to remove 3 very obvious thorns in his side in Bob, Karla and Roger.

Yet another desperate attempt by Bluh to stifle democracy in Swindon.
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Offline PAV

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 07:34:15 PM »
What exactly is "going on" PAV?

Using taxpayers money to pay the wages of union officials.

Isn't that what membership subscriptions are for?

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 09:13:36 PM »
Union subs pay the wages of union ful-time officials PAV. These are not full-time officials, they are workplace reps. The full-time officials usually have a big geographic area to cover. These local reps are simply employees of SBC on full-time release to cover around 3,000 members. They are lay reps.

Any unionised workplace of a certain scale has lay reps on part or full-time release. They negotiate with the management, they represent people in grievances or disciplinaries, to name just a few things. The same applies in the private sector.

Obviously a smaller workplace will not usually have reps on full-time release but there will usually be some agreement with the management, and in any case there is a legal obligation on management to release them on a "reasonable" basis.

With a workforce of 3,000 to represent, if they weren't on full-time release their manager would be pretty pissed off because if they were given release on an adhoc basis they would hardly ever be at their jobs.

People who have not worked in union workplaces or maybe not had any direct experience of unions should consider what the ruling group's action in relation to this issue has in common with the experience of say the people in Old Town and the 'consultation' over Croft. The approach of the ruling group is consistent. they treat their own staff in the same way as they do local resident's. 'Consultation' is only for forms sake and rarely, if ever, genuine.

The reason they want to end this realease for loca union reps is because the trade union is an obstacle to what they want to do. The absence of full-time release will make it much more difficult for UNISON to organise such a large group of members.

Such a decision (which will probably be subject to legal challenge) expresses the dictatorial frame of mind, and practice of the 'Strong Leader' and his clique. If the law did not impose the need for a ballot on 'stock transfer' they would have imposed it on Council tenants. Fortunately they had to hold one.

As I have said before, their ideology is that of the 'enabling' Council, which doles out the contracts, and they fail to control their contractors. Remember Capita decided to close down the cash desk without even consulting SBC.

The Tories want to 'behead' the union to make it a softer target. They are a thoroughly reactionary anti-union bunch.




ph1lc

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 09:51:34 PM »
The stupidity of this is that the Council HAVE to give PAID time off to union reps to carry out their duties.

This is surely going to cost the Council more money.

Offline Mart

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 09:58:04 PM »
I'm in Unison. It ate my original union and, though I have no particular need for them presently, it means the reps are now 'somewhere else'.

I would humbly suggest this move is all about removing dissenting voices. £450k would keep them ticking over if finance is the issue, ask that nice Mr Perkins, he knows where it is.

Some morally questionable decisions wearing the sackcloth of fiscal restraint will no doubt be implemented and got away with, this I'm not sure. What useful purpose is served in alienating your staffs' representatives?

Not sure it's a constructive move personally but Rodders never listens to anyone does he?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 09:26:00 AM »
The stupidity of this is that the Council HAVE to give PAID time off to union reps to carry out their duties.

This is surely going to cost the Council more money.

The question is ph do the Council understand money sufficiently to be able to realise that fact?

You only have to look at Wi-fi to see that it was never going to succeed but with this lot they believe they can turn water into wine!

and their financial incompetance is the most important reason why they have to go in May.  Their arogance is just the icing on the cake for anyone who opposes them.

Penny wise and five pound foolish comes to mind.
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Offline moley

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 07:55:46 PM »

Any unionised workplace of a certain scale has lay reps on part or full-time release. They negotiate with the management, they represent people in grievances or disciplinaries, to name just a few things. The same applies in the private sector.


Even non-unionised workplaces over a certain size have duties of consultation which mean that they have to set aside some employee staff time as required.

So this would appear to be simply going to require other people to give up their time if the council do things in a legal way.

And given everything I've heard, I would be surprised if there are no reasons for formal consultation over the next 12 months...

Moley

Offline Scott Thunes

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 09:39:57 AM »
Please see the Unison website:

http://www.unison.org.uk/news/news_view.asp?did=7603

This is now another big issue putting even more pressure on the beleaguered Tories in the run-up to the May elections. Please lobby Gavin Jones and Rod Bluh as explained in the attached link, and turn out in force next Thursday at 6pm at the Civic Offices to show your opposition to YET ANOTHER attack on democracy by this wretched administration.
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Offline Scott Thunes

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 06:20:21 PM »
And so the Tories press on with their miserable agenda. This is not over, not by a long chalk.

Facility time in facts & figures:

Facility time is under attack. While it might be tempting to dismiss some of those leading the attack – such as the self-proclaimed Trade Union Reform Campaign, a close relative of the so-called Taxpayers' Alliance – as little more than flannelled fools, many Conservative MPs have been successful in getting their local press interested in the alleged cost of facility time, particularly in local government.

And in Swindon, we have seen the Tory council take the attack into practical steps with its announcement that it is ending facility time.

The supposed narrative is always the same: in a time of tight finances, taxpayers are subsidising trade unions to the tune of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of pounds by paying the wages of trade union officials who should be paid by their employer: the union.

We don't need to tell UNISON activists that this is rubbish: you know that you are employees of councils, the NHS, police forces, universities, colleges, schools, utilities, transport providers and a host of private and third-sector companies – and rightly paid by them while you provide voluntary support for your fellow workers and union members.

But it is a view that is – alarmingly – gaining traction. On top of a steady drip of stories from mainly Conservative MPs and councillors in local papers, communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles has made it clear that he has union reps and their facility time in his sights.

So branches need the true facts to fight back against local attacks.

First some basic facts: there are 6.5 million trade union members in the UK – around 200,000 of them volunteer to carry out representative duties at workplace level, carrying out a wide range of often demanding and complex roles, including;


providing informal advice to colleagues;
formally representing members in grievance and disciplinary hearings;
negotiating with managers.


Union reps – in the private, public or voluntary sector – have a legal right to paid time off for a tightly defined set of union duties, including:


negotiating with employers;
representing members;
performing the duties of an accredited health and safety rep;
performing the duties of an accredited union learning rep.


They also have a legal right to paid time off for training to carry out those duties.

There is no legal obligation on employers to provide paid time off for union reps taking part in what the law calls 'union activities' – things like attending meetings, taking part in their union’s democracy, recruiting new members etc.

But many employers – again in both the private and public sectors – recognise the value of giving elected union reps facility time for this, up to 100% in a minority of cases.

As Ian Jerams, chief operating officer, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust said in a recent TUC report: "Effective and efficient services require a workforce that is supported to deliver their very best.

"The provision of facility time for staff representatives and stewards helps to ensure the timely availability of representation, leading to the early resolution of staffing issues and ultimately to better outcomes for the workforce, employers and for the people benefiting from the service."

And is this benefit measurable?

The last attempt to do so was in 2007, when the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – now the Department for Business Innovation and Skills – conducted a review of the facilities and facility time available to workplace representatives.

It concluded that, for every £1 spent on trade union facility time in the public sector, between £2 and £5 is saved in costs of dismissal and exit rates. That is a very good return on investment.

This doesn't include the benefit of union reps to productivity performance, which is widely acknowledged but harder to calculate.

The government calculation of benefits was broken down as:


lower dismissal rates, which meant recruitment savings of £107m-£213m a year;
lower 'voluntary exit' rates, meaning further recruitment savings of £72m-143m a year;
fewer employment tribunals, saving government between £22m and 43m a year;
fewer workplace-related injuries, saving employers £126m-371m a year;
fewer workplace-related illnesses, seeing savings of £45m-207m a year.


At 2004 prices (these were the figures the 2007 study looked at) those add up to saving of between £372m and £977m a year in both the public and private sectors.

Working on the basis that the public sector is 'worth' around 60% of the total, union facility time arrangements saved the taxpayer £223m-£586m a year at 2004 prices, or £267m-£701m at 2010 prices.

And how much time do reps actually take?

The same 2007 government review found that the average work time taken by senior union reps was just over 10 hours a week – while a 2005 TUC survey showed 16% of reps saying that less than quarter of the time they spent on union duties was paid for by their employer.



Oooooh Matron!

Offline itspavagain

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 07:14:30 PM »
Judging by the comments when this story was published on the Advertiser site, this is one of the most popular decisions ever made by the council.

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 09:33:21 PM »
They are not a very representative bunch who post on there. They are for the most part to the right of Gengis Khan. Some of them would bring back hanging, drawing and quartering if they could.

Bluh is a real cynic. His argument appears to be that 'the other unions' don't have anybody on full-time release so why should UNISON'. In fact the other unions have a very small membership in comparison. And, of course, he didn't mention the fact that the UNISON branch pays for an administrative assistant (or whatever her title is).

This is being done by Bluh and co as a test case on behalf of the government. Virtually every Council in the country has staff on full-time release for union duties relating to negotiations with the Council. If they can get away with it then Tory Councils the length and breadth of the country will try to follow suit.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2012, 09:54:18 PM »
Martin - I understand the desire of Unison to keep the 'paid for posts' but quite honestly i think the union is on a hiding to nothing. Many people will take the view that paid union representation should be paid for by the union, which is surely what the union 'dues' are for. Now if it really is the case that there really are no SBC employees who are spending 100% of their time on union related matters, that should be easily proven.



Offline Muggins

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 09:27:53 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but was not SBC until quite recently considered a  'sick' council, i.e. the staff were dispirited and off sick, with loads of people not turning up for work? So much so they had to make severe changes?

I doubt that's changed very little, is it just they don't let things like that get out now, or staff are scared to have time off for anything or their jobs will be gone when they get back?.

Is it also true that the union reps pick up quite a bit of the 'welfare' issues, so in effect are doing council work in union work time?  i.e. in the way of human recources SBC is getting a better deal than they think?

If this I so, then when those posts go, who is going to do that?
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Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Stop the attack on UNISON
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 11:09:10 AM »
Des, we are talking about ONE post, a job share between two people. They are employees of the Council, on full-time release from their substantive posts. Should they step down from their role they would go back to their substantive jobs. Frankly this is a very low level of release compared to many other Councils. I know for  a fact these people do more work than they are paid for. It's no cosy little sinecure.

Union dues go to the national union which has its own infrastructure of employees.

This decision of the Council is politically motivated. It's got nothing to do with the financial situation of the Council. After all if they could give a toss about the finances they would not have carried out their little 'entrepreneurial' experiment with WiFi, would they?

And its a bit rich this decision, coming from Councillors who now get thousands of pounds remuneration as compared to the days when a Councillor received only legitimate expenses.