GMB, along with sister trade unions Unite and Unison have been involved in negotiations with Sandwell MBC with regard to the introduction of a ‘ 2 year job promise’ aiming to safeguard as many jobs as possible.
Although in principal GMB support any move to avoid job loses we have had to fight hard to have included the following safeguards to the job promise to avoid the promise becoming a burden of increased workload or a means to matching people to less suitable jobs and managing them out of the council without redundancy.
- Anyone put at risk of redundancy in the next two years will in the first instance, be offered a suitable alternative job which should be on the same pay.
- For the first six months of any redeployment arrangements will be offered training and support for their new role. We negotiated a guarantee that no one will be ‘performance managed’ during this time.
- Negotiations resulted in an agreement that if either employee or employer thought the redeployment was not working at the six month point then voluntary redundancy explored.
- The council has committed to reduce the use of agency workers in favour of protecting jobs.
- Job Descriptions may change as part of the annual appraisal but individuals and/or job groups have the right to union representation. Any change to job groups will go through the normal consultation process.
We negotiated in good faith on behalf of our members and felt we had engaged in something that could have set an example to other Local Authorities with regard to not just going for the easy option of job cuts, however we have now been notified of a press release that states we have agreed to a job promise that basically allows our members to be vulnerable to easy changes to their job descriptions to suit the council.
The joint Unions asked the Council to withdraw the release in favour of an accurate reflection of the negotiations as a whole. It is with a heavy heart that we share with you their refusal to provide clarity for our members and we may be forced into a position whereby we are unable to sign the agreement. If this happens we will seek further advice to resolve the issue on behalf of our members.
In the meantime, should you have any questions, please contact Darren James, GMB Sandwell Branch Secretary 0121 569 5990 or Darren_James@Sandwell.gov.uk
Posted: 1st April 2015