Open Letter to Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council

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Dear Martin  

City Council ER/VR Programme 2014

You will be aware of the Council’s plan to manage a reduction in the workforce by offering ER/VR to employees. Sadly, it comes as no surprise to UNISON that the offer has meant that many employees have been disappointed and distressed by the fact that they have not been able to go.

It is very unfortunate that the tone and tenor of comments made at the beginning of the consultation exercise about ER/VR suggested that most people could in fact go.

For example in a Director’s cut it states ‘Other than for a small number of excluded posts, where we know we cannot lose staff without needing to replace them, there will be a presumption that those who want to go can go. Staff will not need their Manager’s permission either to apply or to be accepted onto the scheme. So, it’s getting tough, and it’s going to get tougher.  It’s time for everyone to think about the future, and to make a choice.’

Many members have approached us very upset about the outcomes for them. They have quite naturally, spent a considerable amount of time thinking about their futures and have applied accordingly. Only to find they are unable to go.

This has also left them feeling very despondent and will cause difficulty in encouraging a sense of wanting to continue to belong to the organisation many have worked for so tirelessly.

These are difficult times for us all and it will come as no surprise to you that we do not share the view that the answer to austerity is to reduce our workforce. However, we have a duty of care and responsibility to our members to point out that it is important that the employer acts in a more sensitive way in discussions about these matters which affect our members’ lives directly. Some of our members have commented that they feel very let down by the way in which this matter has been managed, disregarding their wellbeing and mental health and that this has shown that they are not valued.

Good industrial relations relies on respectful interaction with the workforce and their trades unions. It is very unfortunate that this matter has had the opposite effect. Trust and confidence is essential to ensure good working relations. We would like know what you intend to do about rebuilding that confidence and trust with your workforce.

Yours sincerely

UNISON Coventry District Branch

Room 308, Broadgate House, Broadgate COVENTRY, CV1 1NG Phone: 024 76521125 Visit www.coventryunison.co.uk for further information. hotline021214

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