Neighbourhoods and Growth staff being treated unfairly

Staff in the recent Neighbourhood and Growth restructure (led by Sue Foster) are being treated unfairly by a senior management team who have decided to follow a procedure that will lead to more redundancies.

In generic reduction groups (e.g. 6 people going for 4 jobs) the custom and practice at Lambeth is to do expressions of interest in other roles first, so as to minimise job losses.

N&G management are proposing to have interviews and tests to choose who to keep and who to let go in each generic reduction group before considering any expressions of interest in other jobs. This is not what is usually done in the Council – N&G staff are being treated less favourably than other staff in restructures (for example in the recent restructure of Human Resources).

Unison has spoken to the senior managers of N&G time and again to demand that they do not carry out generic interviews before taking expressions of interest in vacant posts. We have also demanded that tests are not done for generic reductions (because no one should be tested for their own job, which they are already doing!)

This sensible approach (which is usually adopted in the Council) minimises the chance of compulsory redundancies and maximises the chance that staff will get other jobs.

For example, if there is a generic reduction group of six staff with only four jobs, if the generic reduction is done first (as management propose) then all those six staff have to go for interviews for their own job. Four are successful and two are unsuccessful – those two are then the only people “at risk” – so they are the only ones who can express an interest in other jobs. The four staff who have been successful are denied that opportunity.

If instead (as UNISON has proposed) expressions of interest are considered before generic reductions then (in this example) all six of the staff can express interest in other posts and be interviewed for them – as soon as two of the staff are successful the other four staff are then automatically assimilated into their own jobs with no need for a generic reduction interview – and no compulsory redundancies!

This sensible approach is the normal approach of Lambeth Council – but the management team in Neighbourhoods and Growth are refusing to apply common sense and custom and practice to N&G staff.

UNISON believes that all staff who are affected by this incorrect approach from management should consider lodging a grievance about this – because they are being treated less favourably than staff elsewhere in the Council and are being placed at unnecessary risk of compulsory redundancy.

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