Battling the Welfare, Employment and Skills restructure

A story of chaos, u-turns, solidarity & pioneers!

The Welfare, Employment & Skills restructure affected a team of staff who offer employment to the borough’s residents. The restructure proposals created an interim structure for six months that put staff at risk of redundancy unnecessarily. The Council stated that funding was not the problem but that the New Homes Bonus project had ended. UNISON protested that if funding for existing posts runs out at the end of March 2017 and there is funding to resource the interim structure for six months then the Council should simply extend the current contracts of the affected staff for that period.

UNISON also pointed out that there had been many posts that had been vacant for a considerable period of time and only recently filled so there was that money available. There were also several vacant posts that were funded but had not been filled.

Supported by staff, the majority of whom are UNISON members, we argued that the correct approach to the current circumstances would be to negotiate with staff to withdraw the restructure and await the upcoming Council-wide reorganisation, and in return ask that staff will demonstrate flexibility to meet the changing requirements of the organisation.

First the Council seemed to accept that the restructure should be halted then in a shocking U-turn the Council reinstated their proposals!

Angry and frustrated but also unified and organised, the staff decided to take action.

This included

  • A petition
  • lunchtime demonstrations
  • leafleted Councillors and senior managers (including the Chief Exec!)

Their determination paid off and the Council have retreated. These staff are now piloting the first attempt the Council are making at allocating posts as part of a restructure. This process should be complete by the end of March. Watch this space!

Most staff in the Council will be aware of the assimilation process but allocation is new. Here is an outline of how allocation works:

Where an employee is currently in a role that is similar to a post in the new structure, but not a close enough match to confer assimilation, the employee will, with their consent, be allocated into the new role, provided that there are enough vacant positions in the new structure after assimilations have taken place (see above). Allocation may take place up to one grade above or one grade below the existing post.  If there are more people who could be allocated than roles in the new structure, a selection process will be applied and/or if there is more than one role into which an individual could be allocated to, arrangements for offering individuals opportunities to express an interest will be considered.

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