On 8th December UNISON Reps had their regular bi-monthly meeting with North Somerset Councillors. Items for discussion included:
Office Amalgamation Project, aka the move to Castlewood, and a request from UNISON re: monitoring carbon emissions and increased travelling costs. We also have issues with the cost of the refurbishment of the Town Hall, given the current economic conditions. We have requested information on numbers of new jobs which Agilysis & Liberata have agreed,and apparently have already brought, to Castlewood.
Staff Terms and Conditions - the proposals to remove / reduce enhancements, including overtime, evening, weekend, bank holiday, call out and standby payments. We believe there are equal pay issues with these proposals and are currently taking legal advice, and will be balloting affected members on the possibility of taking industrial action.
Budget - The council propose to cut over £15 million from their budget in 2011/12 - 130 jobs will be lost and many services reduced, privatised or apparently run by volunteers. We have requested that equality impact assessments are completed on all proposals in the budget document - all Local Authorities are required to assess the impact of changes to services on BME people, women, disabled people, LGBT people, people of different ages,and people of different religions. There will be a special budget meeting between unions and councillors on 12th January 2011.
Staff Survey - results available on the council intranet for those who have access - a particular issue of concern is the council's handling of major change programmes, especially consultation around changes. Given the cuts this is something the council need to do better.
Privatisation - UNISON has, for the last year, been trying to get the council to sign up to a procurement agreement setting out trade union involvement in procurements involving staff transfers - we have requested that councillors, given their stance on privatisation, ensure that this and the council's own revised procurement strategy are signed off as soon as possible.
Volunteers and Apprentices - Given the council's statement regarding the Big Society approach, we requested information on what services the council intends to run with volunteers and information on how many apprentices are currently working at the council.