UNISON update – August 2020

National Pay Deal Accepted

On a higher than usual turnout, UNISON members employed in local government and employers covered by the NJC negotiating body, voted by 2 to 1 to accept the employers’ pay offer of 2.75% for 2020/21.

Consequently, the NJC Committee agreed to accept the offer, whilst noting that it fell far short of our claim and did not properly reward a workforce of key workers who have gone above and beyond expectation during the COVID pandemic.

As part of the agreed pay deal, from 1st April 2020, minimum annual leave will increase from 21 to 22 days for employees with less than five years’ service.  It was also agreed as part of the deal that the Joint Secretaries will begin discussions on “a comprehensive joint national review of the workplace causes of stress and mental health”

UNISON’s NJC Committee agreed that we should now start work on next year’s claim and call on the employers to work with us to secure additional funding from central government so that workers in local government get the decent reward they deserve.

UNISON’s Chief Officers Committee (JNC) also agreed to accept the employers’ offer of 2.75% after members voted 4 to 1 to accept the offer.

These pay increases will be implemented immediately, with back pay to 1st April 2020.

SCC Update

Hopefully everyone is keeping safe and well in these difficult times.

UNISON continues to meet with corporate HR and senior officers on a regular basis to discuss the key issues regarding employee health and wellbeing, service delivery and returning services in a safe and COVID secure way.

We are seeing more services returning on a weekly basis now with others in the pipeline. Whilst Government guidance changes on a regular basis, often changing again soon after, SCC has been clear in its position that worksites need to adhere to the original guidance of 2 meter distancing, with all worksites being assessed by Facilities Management and Risk Assessments completed before consideration is given for a service to return to the workplace.

Whilst the Government position on people considered highly vulnerable and shielding changed on 1st August, the position of SCC remains that people in this position should continue to work from home wherever possible. If this is not possible due to the nature of the job and a return to the workplace is under consideration it is essential that an individual Risk Assessment is completed with a manager to assess and consider the risks of returning. Adjustments to roles or alternative roles should be considered if necessary.

A significant number of employees continue to work from home and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Hopefully everyone doing so has the equipment they require, if not then contact your management as this can be resourced and delivered to your home address.

As a result of the pandemic many of the council’s regular meetings and procedures have been put on hold due to the logistical issues involved. Discussions are currently underway regarding how these can be restarted. Clearly from UNISON’s perspective any procedural issues need to be considered in a fair and appropriate way, particularly given the significant lapse in time and changes in working arrangements. Any member contacted regarding a procedural meeting needs to contact UNISON for advice and guidance by emailing lgbranch@sheffunison.org.uk

We need to remind members to submit requests for annual leave in this leave year as the council are insisting that they will be adhering to their annual leave policy and will only allow more leave than stated to be carried over in exceptional circumstances e.g. long term sick leave or exceptional service delivery requirements. Staff not in work due to their service not being operational are still expected to book annual leave.