Latest News update for members in KSS CRCs

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Union members show serious anger over Pay 

Napo, UNISON and GMB members have voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot to reject the actions of SEETEC/KSS CRC to impose a sub-standard Pay award. The ballot was extended to allow for the summer leave season.

Napo Unison and GMB submitted a Pay claim to KSS CRC Earlier this year. The pay claim sought pay equality across the whole of the newly extended KSS CRC and suggested a progressive formula to move towards that which resulted in the National Probation Service (NPS) pay settlement reached last year.

Unions believe that all KSS CRC staff deserve the same pay increase for their dedication, skill and hard work in a period of major change for the probation service.
 
However, after all attempts by the unions to engage in meaningful negotiations, the employer failed to provide the necessary data and moved to impose an insulting pay award. To compound matters, the unions were told that staff ought to be grateful for the ‘extra investment’ from the employer into the business.
 
This show of bad faith by the employer maintains a two-tier pay system across the CRC and leaves many staff significantly worse off than their former colleagues who are working in the NPS. in addition the imposed pay award falls well short of the current rate of inflation.
 
Ballot result reveals member’s anger

98% of those Union members who took part in the indicative ballot voted to reject the cynical imposition of the pay award, with a combined average of 70% of respondents prepared to support strike action, or action short of a strike, if this became necessary. We hope that the overwhelming rejection of the imposed pay award by members will encourage the employers to come back to the table and urgently reopen pay talks.
 
We will be writing formally to management pointing out that their unacceptable and short-term approach to pay and reward has seriously angered their employees. This makes it more likely that staff may decide to apply for the many vacancies that exist in neighbouring NPS areas especially as the KSS CRC contract nears termination.
If this happens, then it is entirely feasible that once the transfer of Offender Management work from Wales takes place, then SEETECS ability to maintain their contractual obligations to the MoJ could be in serious jeopardy.
 
We would rather engage with the employer (as we are trying to do with other CRC’s) to join us in common cause to seek additional funding from the MoJ precisely because of this possibility, and the need to restore stability across the probation service before all of the CRC contracts come to an end by April 2021.
 
If SEETEC seriously believe that there will be new opportunities to bid for intervention and programme contracts in future, they need to demonstrate the steps that they intend to take to retain enough staff to undertake these functions.
 
Please look put for more news here as soon as it becomes available.
 
Employer launches formal consultation on new Operational Model

This week saw the start of formal consultation with Unions and staff on the new Operational Model that SEETEC/ KSS CRC have been contracted to deliver for the Ministry of Justice. We have had some mixed messages so far about the effectiveness of the employer’s communications, especially over the provision of information packs or individual letters that in some cases did not arrive in time for the engagement events for staff that managers were expected to carry out. Staff deserve better. 

The unions have been instrumental in securing important changes to the original plans, but we have not yet agreed them. We still remain to be convinced that what is being proposed will repair the huge damage caused by the recklessly unsafe operational practices that were put in place by the former Working Links CRC, but at least we are having a dialogue which is in contrast to the relationship with that disgraceful former employer.

The unions are considering how best to consult with our members and we will be in touch again shortly. Meanwhile, we urge all members to attend the employees briefing events and keep a record of your questions and any answers that you are provided with.

Our demands going forward include the need for proper consultation, agreement on revised job profiles, clear and timely communications, full protections on job security and keeping redundancies to the absolute minimum (early indications are that these will be very few in number.)

The position in Wales regarding the transfer of OM work

Last week the Unions and employer met to discuss the progress of the project to enact the early transfer of Offender Management work from the Wales region of KSS CRC to the National Probation Service.

It is fair to say that last minute union intervention meant that the communications that were scheduled to go to staff in Wales (some of who at this stage have been provisionally identified as being ‘in scope’  for transfer to the NPS in December) were much improved from what had originally been planned.

The employer needs to recognise that the unions are about ensuring that this transfer is conducted as smoothly as possible, and that unless communications are of the highest standard then more unnecessary work will fall on managers and union reps and cause even more anxiety across the workforce.

Regular meetings have been scheduled with the employer and Regional NPS leaders over the coming weeks to monitor the transition plans. More details of the formal consultation process for ‘in scope’ staff will follow once National discussions have concluded.

National negotiations on the new Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement

Discussions between the National unions, HMPPS and MoJ senior management are at last making progress. The key issues are:

  • Determining the ‘effective date’ for identifying staff ‘in scope’  for transfer to the NPS from the CRC’s.
  • The assignment methodology, including the selection and appeal process.
  • The final details of the Staff Transfer Order that will follow the legislative process as set down in the Offender Management Act. This will be superior to TUPE provisions and ensure that ‘best practice’ is applied.

Reaching a new Staff Transfer and Protections Agreement that we expect to be personally underwritten by the Secretary of State.

This means that KSS CRC SEETEC and the other CRC providers whose contracts will terminate by April 2021, will be bound by these collective agreements before any formal transfer of their staff to the NPS takes place.

Again, more details will follow as soon as these become available.

Union membership vital

All of the above developments spell out the importance of belonging to a trade union, and having access to representation and legal support should you need it. Experience shows that simply relying on your employer to do the right thing on your behalf is something of a gamble.

Increased union membership within KSS CRC will strengthen our efforts to negotiate on your behalf on the issues that impact on you and your families.

If you are reading this bulletin and are not a union member then please join a union of your choice today!

 

Ian Lawrence, General Secretary, Napo
Siobhan Brown/Simon Dunn/Debbie Monksfield, Regional Organisers, UNISON
Helen Coley, Regional Officer, GMB/SCOOP