Tag Archives: Redundancy pay

ROTTEN COMRADES: Redundancy pay and, now, pay protection too

by Our Industrial Correspondent  -The Dwarf

I was going to talk about a multitude of issues (including management calling in the enforcement officers on their own smokers and timing staff on the bog) but today there is only really one thing on the agenda: the slashing of redundancy pay and pay protection and the unions’ inability to show any backbone whatsoever. Vote this out now!

The latest spin being applied to the redundancy pay reduction plan is that the money saved from redundancy payments could be used to give those remaining in work a pay rise. One of the union reps who told us that looked surprised when he was told that that would mean they could make even more people redundant. He had the grace to look embarrassed. Then, needing a distraction to make his getaway, he set his bow tie spinning before jumping into his tiny car, which collapsed.

But now, finally, after plenty of rumours and leaks, having consulted absolutely nobody, having absolutely no debate whatsoever, the unions are putting it to the vote. The last time we balloted over a change to terms and conditions about 45 people took part (out of thousands) and the unions used that “mandate” to agree to slash our evening and weekend pay. And lo and behold, restructures took place forcing more of our workers to work more unsociable hours. These terms and conditions protect workers and compensate them if things go wrong. Of course, none of our union reps work evenings and weekends, heaven forfend, and are confident they shall be the last people to be laid off, being so useful to the business.

My fear is that a handful of politically motivated idiots, feeling only pity for their work mates and only admiration for their betters, will fall for this, dragging us all down with them.

The details can be found on the council’s intranet – The Source – though at the time of writing it was hidden away somewhere in a dusty corner. Unison have some details here. Why not print off a hundred or so copies, roll them up and use the resulting tube in a way that would make it difficult for some of our comrades to sit down?

But remember, don’t have a go at your local shop steward. The unions are using them to take the flak. He or she is as surprised as you are by this turn of events. Give your branches and regions a call and ask them what the hell they are playing at.

Unison’s Bristol office number is 0117 353 3956.

Unite’s Bristol office number is 0117 923 0555.

Say no to this awful example of incompetent negotiation, for heaven’s sake!

The unions’ have been hopeless, is there no organisation that can come to our aid? We’ve had the Bristolian Party, is it not now time for ‘Bristolian the Union’? Now there’s a thought. Can you imagine us at the Council’s top table?

ROTTEN COMRADES: ‘REDUNDANCY PAY CUT SHOCKER’

by Less-Than-Pragmatic Dwarf

Another month, another shambles as Bristol City Council’s dodgy unions bend over backwards to help the employer. This time it’s redundancy pay that’s at risk but, instead of telling the employer to go “do one”, our comrades have, er, bravely thrown in the towel.

Citing the obvious line that if unions don’t go along with the cut, the employer will change their contracts anyway, our reps have come up with a piss-poor, face-saving formula that they will add “checks and balances” to the proposals.

Management would threaten unilateral changes to contracts, wouldn’t they? It’s the first – and oldest – trick in the book. Instead of saying “nice try sunshine!”, our not-so-bright colleagues scratched the top of their heads, fell over their clown shoes and surrendered.

One of the “checks and balances” reported to our Industrial Correspondent is an increase to voluntary severance payments. A windfall that, for ordinary workers, is as rare as hen’s teeth. Besides, what manager proposing a restructure will choose the more expensive, but more equitable, voluntary route to redundancy when it’s cheaper just to choose who to fire?

Back when they had experienced reps, the unions argued that it was better to let volunteers go than to fire people who are desperate to keep their jobs. This will strike a death knell for such an idea. Unions agreeing to this proposal will change the contracts of thousands of staff, even non-union members, which is actually worse than doing nothing.

If nothing is agreed and the proposals are imposed, at least one or two brave members of staff could challenge it. Perhaps with the help of an ambulance chasing lawyer or a union that has somehow managed not to compromise itself? Because, of course, redundancy pay is part of your contract and enforceable in law. “Checks and balances”, even placed in a policy, won’t be.

However, it’s not a done deal yet. Although the reps are agreeing it in principle, the unions will need to consult with their members (watch out for some frighteningly Orwellian fact distortion in your inbox). They want the effects of this not to kick in for a couple of years. But they intend to agree it now and tie it down in such a way that nobody can claim, in say three years’ time, that it was a surprise.

It’s not just Unison this time, the blame lies with Unite and GMB as well. They’re all complicit in this. If you catch anyone from the unions defending or promoting these proposals, in the Counts Louse or elsewhere, do yourself a favour: make them a dunce’s cap to wear and ask them to resign.