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On Wednesday 12th October the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) made the decision to end the compulsory redundancy process in all areas, except the nurseries, as they were close to reaching the savings they required.
We have been in dispute with the College from early in the process because of the scale of the cuts, the speed at which the cuts were to be made, the manner in which they were being implemented, and the lack of meaningful consultation with the trade unions.
We had a very good turnout for the indicative ballot with the vast majority of those who voted being in favour of industrial action, and we only avoided an official ballot for strike action because the threat of a large number of compulsory redundancies was withdrawn.
We know that this was aided by the pressure brought to bear by the trade unions, on behalf of members, UNISON was able send a loud and clear message to the employer that our members would not sit back and accept the outrageous treatment by senior management due to the result of the indicative ballot, so thank you to everyone who participated.
There are still a number of outstanding issues:
Despite some very strong alternative proposals from the nursery staff, and pressure from UNISON and GMB, the SLT are continuing with their plan to close all three nurseries by the end of December.
SLT are currently considering a new proposal and seeking interest from private companies to take over some or all of the nursery sites. UNISON has asked for an extension of the consultation period and of the proposed closure as we don’t think there has been sufficient duty of care to the staff and, particularly, to the 80 children who use the nurseries.
As we know the service provided enables many young people and adults to access education we are appalled at the decision to end this provision, yet again another example of how cuts impact on our community.
We would encourage members to support their colleagues in the nurseries and raise the issue with their MP, local councillor and support any future campaigns
Staff without posts: When the redundancy process ended last Wednesday a number of staff were left with reduced hours or a role that had disappeared. UNISON will continue to work with members to ensure that they are suitably redeployed or compensated for roles that have been removed.
Feedback on the process: We have asked SLT for a meeting to discuss the problems that were caused by the redundancy process. These include the short timescale to deal with 150 staff at risk, running the VR and compulsory redundancy processes side by side, the mistakes in data, letters and meetings that occurred, failures in the college’s duty of care for some members that were at risk of losing their job, and the general disorganisation that surrounded the process.
Please contact us if there are any issues you would like us to raise.
UNISON has made a proposal to SLT that a working group should be formed consisting of members from SLT and the trade unions in order to put together a fit for purpose industrial consultation and negotiation frame work to ensure in any future restructures the same mistakes are not made again.
Vote of no Confidence
UNISON, UCU and the GMB met with the Governors recently to discuss the vote of no confidence. There was an open and honest discussion and the Governors seemed prepared to listen to our concerns and take these points back to the SLT:
1. Speed and accuracy of the redundancy process (both this year and in previous years)
2. Reactive not proactive approach of the SLT to the issues facing the Group
3. Communication between the TUs and the SLT
4. The need for earlier dialogue through offline conversations between the TUs and the SLT about operational matters
5. Opportunities for staff to be involved in curriculum reviews affecting their role;
6. The themes raised in the 15/16 staff survey
7. Extension of the timescale for the proposed closure of the nurseries.
We agreed to meet again next month to discuss progress on these issues.
The final 2016 National Joint Forum (NJF) meeting took place between the six college unions and the Association of Colleges (AoC) on 21 September 2016 to further consider the 2016/7 pay claim. At the meeting, the employers made a first and final offer of an increase of 1% on all salary points, or £250 whichever is the greater.
The offer also includes information on: proposed joint guidance on closing the gender pay gap, a reminder for colleges on their obligations and joint agreement on the transfer of temporary staff to permanent contracts and a recommendation that colleges consider implementing the Real Living Wage.
UNISON is extremely disappointment at the offer, as it falls way short of the aspirations of our claim and we know how real terms pay is falling for workers in the public sector However, along with the other FE unions we have agreed to consult with members on the offer.
As a full time officer, I would like to thank Lesley Smallwood for all of the hard work that she has undertaken on behalf of all UNISON members across the whole of HCUK, and the essential part she has played in the consultations and negotiations with the SLT and Governors and her support for members, throughout what has been a hard and stressful process for everyone in the organisation, UNISON as an organisation would have found this very difficult without Lesley’s efforts. (From Jimmy Wharvell)
We are pleased to say that we now have people who have volunteered to be work place contacts and as a Union Health and Safety Representative in Hull College, thank you to them.
However we are still in desperate need of a Steward in Hull College.
This can be a hard, and at times very frustrating role, but it is a role which can be fun, and extremely rewarding, knowing that you are helping yourself and fellow members in the workplace.by being in a position to influence and change workplace issues and practices in the college. You will also support and represent other UNISON members in the college. You can also be the voice for UNISON members in Hull College in the branch. You will be able to learn or enhance skills such as negotiating, influencing, and representing people.
As a Steward you will receive support from your branch and region, you will also be able to attend training courses where you can learn about how to support members, learn about the vital role trade unions play in protecting terms and conditions and meet fellow union stewards who can offer support.
If you would like to take on this role please contact the branch and a nomination form can be sent to you, or if you are considering the role and have questions someone will be able to discuss these with you.
The strength of any union is in its members, and the more members we have, the stronger the union’s voice is. It is becoming more and more important that we have as many UNISON members in Hull College possible this is clearly illustrated by recent events at the college where the SLT put many members at risk of redundancy, in many cases without any necessity.
This process has brought anxiety and worry to many people, and also uncertainty about their jobs for the future. Everyone hopes that staff will not be put in this same position next year, but there are no guarantees.
This is why, now, more than ever all staff in the college should belong to a trade union, and for support staff this should be UNISON.
This is why we ask you to encourage your friends and colleagues working in HCUK to join UNISON, this latest round of cuts highlights the fact we never know when we may well need UNISON, who knows when it may be them who are facing issues including, redundancy, disciplinary, grievance, sickness, and without being a member of UNISON, who will be there to support them and represent them to safeguard their job, advocate and support them in the many issues related to our working lives.
The governments ongoing Austerity agenda has made it clear that the public sector is fair game and we must support each other to defend it for future generation and the first vital step in this is joining a trade union.
Union density protects collective bargaining and ensures that management have to consult and negotiate with you via the trade unions.
Unison membership also ensures that if you have a legal claim the fees for tribunals are paid by UNISON and this cost can be substantial.
With this newsletter we have enclosed a “Recruit a Friend”, which will mean that if you get someone else to join UNISON, not only will you be doing them a favour, you can also get a reward for yourself.
If you have any workplace issues please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Lesley Smallwood – UNISON Steward
Jimmy Wharvell – Area Organiser
Adrian Kennett Branch Secretary