Tag Archives: Trade unions

HAMPSHIRE NAG KILLING STAFF TO IMPROVE THEIR WELLBEING

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Have you heard the one about the appalling new ‘WELLBEING’ MANAGER at Bristol City Council who has triggered multiple complaints by council staff to HR for bullying? Please step forward ISLE OF WIGHT RESIDENT Christina “The Nag” Czarkowski Crouch, who didn’t rock up at the Counts Louse six months ago to start work as the council’s new  Safety, Health and Wellbeing Manager. 

Covid has proved a boon for this former Head of Risk and Safety at Hampshire County Council – who retired from there “UNDER A CLOUD” – as she’s only had to come to Bristol ONCE IN SIX MONTHS. Leaving this ridiculous Tory bint plenty of time to indulge in her expensive hobby running a riding school and poncing about at dressage events.

Less happy are trade unions at the council who tell us that there’s “a plan to get everyone back to work at the council based on an IDEOLOGICAL HR PLAN“. A plan enthusiastically fronted by a Hampshire resident safely tucked away in a home office 130 miles away who doesn’t see any need to come near one of her ‘safe’ workplaces in Bristol any time soon. Unions also tell us The Nag got paid a generous MOVING ALLOWANCE by us when she got the job but obviously hasn’t bothered moving to Bristol. What’s she done with our money?

The Nag’s current job at the council is to sign off – from a safe long distance – UNSAFE WORKPLACES and offices at the council as, er, safe. This corporate ‘wellbeing’ expert has done this by BULLYING staff into signing off her dodgy risk assessments and telling them that if they don’t do what she says, SHE WILL MAKE THEM LEAVE! Unions sources say The Nag is anti-union too and has refused to speak with them, let alone account for her efforts to kill council staff.

Multiple complaints regarding The Nag have now landed in Bristol City Council’s HR inbox. Although so far her bosses, the council’s mentally unstable Head of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, A NOTORIOUS BULLY himself, and his hopelessly thick and useless yes-man sidekick, Director of HR Mark “Bashar” Williams, have done FUCK ALL. Mainly on the basis that this pair of turds view bullying as top quality management practice that needs to be encouraged. Unless any bullying is aimed at them of course.

Why can’t city council staff just man up a bit and be prepared to die of Covid for a bunch of management cowards and bullies hiding in expensive homes around the UK?

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

by CITIZENS ROBESPIERRE & MURAT ably assisted by Dr J.I Guillotin

November’s Full Council meeting saw an outbreak of ‘MARIE ANTOINETTE SYNDROME’ among entitled councillors in official foppery pitted against a SEETHING MASS of unwashed sans-culottes in the public gallery. Controversy began when Lord Mayor Jos Clark decided (without historical precedence in Bristol or nationally) to SUSPEND PUBLIC QUESTIONS to the Mayor due to “lack of time, because of the national election”.

The Lord Mayor had informed public questioners by email that they could NOT ASK QUESTIONS in the Council Chamber and that the Mayor would not offer any verbal answers. Instead, questioners would receive a written response within 10 working days. The BRISTOLIAN, analysed these questions and – lo and behold – many were POTENTIALLY EMBARRASSING to the Reverend Rees. Raising issues such as the gentrification of Cumberland Basin, jobs for Marvin’s evangelical pals and the contra-BCC policy of hiring trade unionist BLACKLISTING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS.

Chaos reigned in the public gallery as, first, questioners were told that THEY COULDN’T SPEAK OR GET ANSWERS. Then they were told that, maybe, they COULD ASK QUESTIONS BUT NOT RECEIVE ANSWERS and then, finally, they were told that the original ruling would stand. Breathless council flunkies dashed around the chamber with leaflets and ‘clarifications’ as each modification was made up on the spur in council back offices. Adding to the confusion, it also turned out that some questioners were unaware of this ARBITRARY DECISION until they arrived.

Next, onlookers in the public gallery were confronted by BRISTOL’S COUNCILLORS SWANNING IN to pose in Hawaiian shirts for a photographer. Why was this? It was supposed to be a tribute to Hawaiian shirt fan Cllr Mike Langley, who had recently died. Shirt-clad councillors posed with arms around each other before going off to their benches and delivering 40 MINUTES OF SPEECHES in memoriam to their deceased colleague.

Those who knew Mike – A GENUINE SOCIALIST – were confronted with the unedifying spectacle of Tory, Blairite Labour, Lib Dem and the rest competing to see who could deliver the most NAUSEOUS HYPOCRISY while shedding CROCODILE TEARS as most of them had hated Mike. One councillor even announced … ‘In the words of Mike Langley, Vive la Revolution!’ The whole SORRY SPECTACLE resembled one of French Queen Marie Antoinette’s ‘soirees’ where she and her courtiers would dress up to play peasant shepherds and shepherdesses while real peasants starved outside the gates.

After their PRIVATE FANCY DRESS PARTY, the public presence in the gallery was finally acknowledged by the Versailles Court and farce descended into ABSURDITY. When ‘no-question’ time was announced, ONE PLUCKY PROLE stood up and asked why procedure had changed from what was in the council constitution?

Lord Mayor Clark tried to shut down this unseemly interruption to her travesty in motion while security goons twitched in anticipation on the gallery stairwell. Their services were unnecessary, however, as the prole sat down after shouting – to thunderous applause from angry sans-culottes in the gallery – ‘YOU’RE A DISGRACE – YOU SHOULD RESIGN!

Rumours of scythes and pitchforks being sharpened in Bristol’s outlying suburbs cannot be confirmed.

Rotten Comrades: Unfair Dismissal Appeals and Other Problems For Our Class


By The Dwarf

It is commonly recognised that appeals to government bodies very often help. As a rule of thumb I would say appealing loss of benefit or a parking ticket should give you around a fifty-fifty chance (should you have some sort of excuse), so you may as well have a punt. I say usually, that is if you appeal anywhere else but at Bristol City Council where properly mandated, democratically elected bodies no longer seem to be able to action their decisions. We’ve seen this recently with the special education needs appeals but we also see it in both Councillor and Mayoral inability to control council officers.

Controlling council officers is a political problem because, for reasons of national policy, council officers have the right to (effectively) water down possibly loony council decision-making. Sort of. Essentially. So it is quite hard for the Mayor to sack someone if there is a democratic decision to do something and nobody puts that into action properly. This decentralised style of administration trickles down further to organisations such as local authority controlled schools who have the right to do whatever they damn well please while being funded by us.

So, when a struggling single mother with a handful of a child (perhaps with profound learning difficulties) wins her appeal to have a better specialist education for her child, the school refuses to obey the decision, making the whole process a hopeless waste of time. What then happens, the appeals team try and gauge what the school will accept before giving up and making some sort of feeble, virtue-signalling non-decision.

“So, Brother D,” you might ask – “what has this got to do with the unions?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First off, this is about class, both for struggling mums and dads in an uncaring society, but also about having a functioning, municipal democracy. And secondly, this trickle down of irresponsibility and intransigence is affecting the staff too.

The appeals committee which hears dismissal appeals from our staff, has for some time given up trying to reinstate staff who are innocent or who are naughty but don’t quite deserve sacking; but do deserve to be given a kick up the backside before being told to get back to work. I’m not saying the odd one or two haven’t charmed their way out of the ‘long walk’, but the majority haven’t, in my and the other comrades’ experience. I used to be quite happy, back in the day, making the usual ritual protest while the member got the dressing down of their lives, taking comfort in the fact that we’ve managed to avoid another walk of shame to the dole office (or worse). But HR (you know the weaponised, smiling assassins I wrote about last time) now make it clear such actions are impossible.

Since then, the kindly old gentleman chairman, firebrand eco-warrior and old class warrior we normally get invited to address, offer the staff member a nice cup of tea, a bit of sympathy and a biscuit, before tapping the member on the shoulder and showing him the door. I preferred the kick up the arse and reinstatement.

More recently, the tea and biscuits have also gone.

Which makes the whole process a complete, bollocking, waste of time, because we then go off and win a tribunal. The point of the appeal is to set right unfair dismissals: they should consider the matter with open minds and bravely overrule, if that is the just decision, regardless of the pressure from HR. It does beg the question what sort of feedback auditing there is to the committee so that it can review how well it has done.

There is more to say about HR and its militant strategy of getting people out the door regardless of the settlement cost, and just how motivated they are in doing this, but I’ll leave it to next time.

Solidarity,
Brother D

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.

 

ROTTEN COMRADES

It’s all been kicking off amongst the council’s sleepy unions who appear to have been rudely awakened by problems that don’t seem to be solvable by business-as-usual toadying.

Showing a surprising turn of speed for reps normally found dozing with their heads up management’s arse, the council’s comrades have suddenly realised they themselves are facing the chop and have started some frantic, if clumsy, lobbying.

One council union, Unison, has discovered that the recently completed  public consultation proposes devastating cuts in areas where only it has members. Libraries and Community Links are supposed solidly Unison and have traditionally supplied the union with its (in-)”activists”.

Unison have belatedly woken up to the fact that they chose the path of least resistance when the Labour Party and council bosses were planning their latest cuts. While their opposite number, Unite, spent a lot of time lobbying the Mayor when he was first elected. Unison reps were reported to have said they didn’t see the point of lobbying anyone. Quelle Surprise, the latest cuts seem to have fallen disproportionately on them then.

This comes weeks after there was muted Unison laughter aimed at the GMB for fading so drastically in numbers that management were mumbling about de-recognition. Facing possible decimation in the coming restructures, Unison is no longer laughing. After all, with de-recognition comes going back to your regular job and actual work.

So, blowing dust off old copies of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist (which some real socialist left in a box, years ago), our rotten comrades have been frantically lobbying, campaigning, actually talking to members and – heaven forfend – threatening disputes! There is hope yet.

Rumours are that disputes are brewing in Reablement, Night Care and the Community Links. Meanwhile library workers have been warning darkly that their strike in 2016 supported by Marvin and Labour when they were seeking votes in the mayoral election was never resolved by Marvin once elected and as far as they know their original ballot is still live.

Mobs have been reported stalking the corridors of Temple Street looking for customer services managers. Even the city’s team managers are looking for an Arthur Scargill-type character to lead them out the gates due to overwork and stress.

Meanwhile, Unite has been seen cheering it all on, shouting ‘fight, fight, fight’ from the sidelines. Cheerful in the knowledge that someone’s going to get it and it’s certainly not going to be them.

-Cheerful Dwarf

LABOUR RIMMER SERVICING GREEDY BOSSES

Rimmer – naff suit, stupid job title, increased expenses – ready to fuck the workers

Get a middle-ranking trade union bureaucrat in a naff suit, hand him a job title and an increased councillor allowance and he’ll have his TONGUE inserted up the ARSE of a boss quicker than a strategic director can say “get your tongue on my sweet spot Kye”!

Step forward Kye “RIMMER” Dudd, Labour’s new union firebrand chair of the council’s Human Resources Committee, responsible for dishing out ridiculous PAY RISES to failing bosses. Last year this useless committee decided to chuck senior council bosses a 20 PER CENT pay rise to reward their “talent” just weeks after all the lucky recipients of this taxpayer generosity had conspired together to set an UNLAWFUL BUDGET for the city.

Now the senior management pisstakers are back in front of the committee again on Thursday, recommending ANOTHER pay rise for themselves of 20 per cent. This time “TO REFLECT MARKET RATES“. All they now require is for Rimmer’s daft committee to sign their nonsense demand off as quietly as possible.

Naturally, an almighty fuss has accompanied the news of this latest HUGE PAY RISE demand from bosses in the midst of CUTS to council tax benefits to the poor, the closure of libraries and the sacking of school crossing patrols. And Rimmer is right on it … Servicing the needs of his bosses on six-figure salaries by trying to SILENCE DISSENT and steer this ludicrous pay hike through the council.

His first move has been to attempt to BAN gobshite councillors, Tory Richard “Bunter” Eddy and Lib Dem Gary “Fuckbucket” Hopkins from the crucial committee meeting on Thursday – even though he has no power to do so – claiming they have BREACHED confidentiality by discussing the useless recruitment process for recently departed Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski.

Clearly there’s no interest from Rimmer in working cross-party to put an END to these ridiculous and ever-increasing salaries for bosses then. For some reason it’s much more important for Rimmer to engineer a pathetic little party POLITICAL ROW in the finest tradition of thicko small town provincial politicians.

“As a trade unionist, I am horrified that unlike any other organisation in the world, these two force us to play out Human Resources issues in public, disrespecting the employment rights of employees and damaging the ability of the council to manage people effectively and the organisation cost-effectively,” HUFFS the idiot, Rimmer.

Because, “as a trade unionist” Rimmer’s main concern is obviously the employment rights of a Chief Executive earning £140k a year who received £70k for resigning? Mustn’t go around disrepecting useless, bullying, money-grabbing BOSS SCUM must we Rimmer?  Where’s the respectful SILENCE and CAP-DOFFING from the lower orders as greedy bosses assisted by trade unionists and the Labour Party openly rip us off, eh?

Rimmer is also, it seems, a bit CONFUSED about the role of his committee that meets in public to discuss, er, council human resources issues in public. This simple democratic oversight – according to Rimmer  – is now “damaging the ability of the council to manage people effectively and the organisation cost-effectively”. Of course, if only Rimmer and the Reverend could line the pockets of bent bosses and elitists IN SECRET it would be so much more cost effective wouldn’t it?

Meanwhile ordinary staff at the council, who Rimmer pretends to give a shit about for electoral purposes, will be told at the same meeting that they will have to wait until – at least – JANUARY to hear about their own wages.

A proposed salary restructure for the plebs, which, last year, his HR committee promised would be completed by April, has now been DELAYED by Rimmer until next year for reasons he won’t explain. More of those “confidential” and “cost effective” reasons no doubt? Or perhaps Rimmer’s just a CUNT who’s only interested in lining the pockets of wealthy bosses from public funds?

Up the workers!

WHISTLEBLOWING WATCH

Lies, bullshit and waffle emanated from the Reverend Rees within minutes of his ‘Bundred Report’ into the council’s finances being published on 9 February. Former Audit Commission boss, Steve ‘Sticky’ Bundred, provided the Reverend with TWELVE recommendations he could implement to improve his council’s shit management.

Here’s number 8: “The incoming chief executive should be invited to consider and report on the steps needed to improve the management culture within the Council recognising that any necessary changes will take three to five years to embed. There should be an emphasis on greater openness, professionalism, delegation, mutual respect and better internal communication, but with fewer large and lengthy meetings.”

The Rev Arsecover immediately responded: “quick improvements include a recent update to our WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY to make it easier for staff to flag up concerns,” he blathered. However, a brief search on the council’s website turns up a Whistleblowing Policy last updated on 2 JUNE 2016 because “[the] scope [was] widened to include employees of LA maintained schools”.

Is last July RECENT? And how the fuck does including school staff “make it easier for staff to flag up concerns”? Is this even the recently updated version the Reverend’s referring to? Does it exist? And, if it does, how the hell is it easier for concerns to be flagged up if no one can access the bloody thing?

A further search also reveals the Rev’s new all-singing, all-dancing whistleblowing policy has been NOWHERE near a council committee or an elected representative in the last year, let alone out for public consultation or run past a trade union rep or employment lawyer who might have a few things to say.

All-in-all, the chances of this mystery document – drawn up in secret by unknown officers beyond public and democratic oversight – being fit-for-purpose must be somewhere near ZERO. But then that’s the point with whistleblowing isn’t it? Council bosses hate it and want it to fail and politicians go along with them.

How long before the Reverend has to call a large and lengthy meeting to sort this new mess from his managers out then?