Coventry City Council Trades Union Side Statement

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Dear Councillor Duggins and Martin Reeves

Open letter to the Leader of Coventry City Council and Chief Executive @coventrycc

Coventry City Council Trades union side Statement

The Trades unions side have met this morning to discuss the urgent issue of Covid19 and in a spirit of partnership we would be grateful for your urgent consideration on these matters given the unprecedented situation:

• All sickness absence monitoring to cease and meetings under the PHAW unless by TU agreement.
• Full sick pay to be paid to all staff regardless of length of service or where their entitlement has reduced or expired.
• No reduction in pay for staff who are self-isolating or caring for someone who is at risk.
• No reduction in pay for any worker having to take time away to look after their children.
• No redundancy consultations.
• All restructures to go on hold.
• Disciplinaries where no risk to life and limb or others to be postponed.
• All other grievances/disciplinaries/capabilities/and Appeals to only go ahead on a case by case basis in agreement with the Trades Unions.
• For those workers who would be considered to be vulnerable to Coronavirus, those with underlying health conditions are to be allowed to self-isolate and/or work from home if they so wish.
• All managers to review all workers who have or are about to return to work from sickness with a view to discussing self-isolation.
• Any worker who is willing and able and has the right resources available to be able to work from home with immediate effect should do so if they so wish.
• Coventry city Council to seek information from the workforce as to what skills, expertise they can volunteer in order to assist the Council to be able to redirect resources to socially useful activities and offer training.
• Any worker volunteering to work at a higher grade will be paid at that rate.
• No worker will suffer financial detriment from volunteering.
• Communication to go out daily giving clear guidance about what the Council is doing across all services. This communication should go out in several formats eg Email, flyers, Council website (not just the intranet). This communication will be done in a way as to demonstrate we understand the workforce will be the ones passing on information about the Councils response and can play a useful role in carrying our and reinforcing these messages.
• Business continuity meetings to include Trades union reps.
• Regime of regular cleaning of all Council facilities used by multiple users and the public.
• Urgent reviews and risk assessments to be carried out with the involvement and collaboration of all staff to determine that work must be done and what can be done differently or postponed in order to reduce contact with the public e.g. telephone assessments instead of face to face meetings.
• For employees who are at higher risk of infection due to directly working with the most vulnerable – older people or people in poor health will need more specific precautions. In such cases a specific risk assessment for contamination risk should be performed. This is a COSHH Assessment required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.
• Provision of counselling services for all staff to be promoted in all future communication in order to look after the mental well-being of the workforce.
• To ensure adequate supplies for handwashing is provided for mobile workers.
• End hot desking.
• Where possible allow workers to vary working hours to reduce risk of infection on congested public transport.
• Stop car park charges and review how we support front line staff.

Coventry Schools:

Request that all schools regardless of establishment status adopt this approach.

Contractors:

Coventry City Council to seek confirmation from all contractors who staff work alongside Coventry City Council workers that they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children.

Agency:

Coventry City Council to seek confirmation from all agency organisations who do as above they are also providing full pay for their staff who are off sick or self-isolating or needing to look after children

The Community:

What plans are in place to work alongside all other public services in the city, the Voluntary Sector and Private businesses to protect citizens and life.

We look forward to your response

Richard Harty

On behalf of GMB, NASUWT, NEU, UNISON and UNITE

PRESS RELEASE – Sickness Absence in Coventry City Council

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Coventry City UNISON note that sickness absence due to stress has risen 10% in the last year.  At a time of austerity with many council jobs having been lost and demand for services ever increasing this is no surprise to us.  Coventry City UNISON are working with our members to try to address the issue of stress in the workplace and the causes of it.  The union will be coming forward with proposals for the council to consider a proper mental health strategy; this is an issue that UNISON has been raising for some considerable time even getting the employer to do some training with MIND but unfortunately for many of our members they have not seen any benefit of this.

 

Sarah Feeney, Branch Secretary said in response to Cllr Mutton’s comments, “We were very surprised to see Cllr Mutton’s comments regarding his belief that an unnamed union has been encouraging its members to go off sick.  The reality is that many of our members who are off sick with stress have needed time away from the workplace to get better.  Our considerable experience tells us that it is a matter for the medical profession to determine whether an employee is fit for work and not a trade union.  What is more have also consistently raised issues of Equality and Diversity that affect the culture of the work place which in turn impacts on absence. These concerns are well known to the employer. 

 

In a number of cases management inaction for a period of months has led to both the absence and the prolonged nature of it and we would be more than happy to discuss these matters with Cllr Mutton.  In respect of his comment about carers taking time off sick for childcare we do not recognise that from our work with our members; in reality a large amount of the sickness total is due to long periods of absence largely due to stress issues. The City Council needs to take seriously the issue of its duty of care to employees that is enshrined in law”

 

Message ends

 

 

Proposed Changes to Location Arrangements for Council Staff in Friargate

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We want to update everyone on this issue as a number of members have been in contact with us. 

UNISON has been made aware that some staff in Friargate have been informed of changes to their workplace location arrangements, however UNISON have been neither been informed nor consulted on these changes. 

We have particular concerns that some staff report that they are being told they have to restrict the amount of work time they spend at Friargate. 

Our corporate rep Sarah Feeney has contacted the employer. We will be updating members on these discussions when we have more information. In the meantime, we welcome your suggestions and comments on the issue. 

Join UNISON today to help us fight for proper working conditions for all, and if you are already a member, could you become a rep or workplace contact for us? 

Download our Hotline here – hotline281118b

Thanks 

Coventry City UNISON 

Car Parking Proposals from Coventry City Council – Joint Trade Union Response

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Joint Trade Union Response to @coventrycc

Proposal for Revised Car Parking Arrangements May 2018

Joint trade union side engaged fully in all the discussions on the subject of Car Parking passes before and during consultation. We have made clear our serious concerns in relation to the removal of passes as described and the proposal to alter the criteria.

Management side has been unclear for a considerable portion of the process what they are actually consulting on and what elements are imposed changes.

The data shared by management has been vague, unclear and subject to multiple changes: questions regarding income source modelling, the employee’s scheme modelling and cost of pool car contract have been answered with no detail has been given and certainly no evidence of the figures involved. An answer regarding free or reduced parking permits to business asked during consultation was vague enough to not answer the question.

The premise of the proposal is financial rather than based on fairness as the employer suggests. The view that “The current arrangements place considerable constraints on the councils car park capacity” (email to Joint T.U’s R.Perks 03.05.18) ignores the increased pressure on car park capacity from other sources such as loss due to sale of land for the building of accommodation.

Our response focuses heavily on the financial assumptions and the obvious inherent risks in management’s proposals.

In consultation we have identified major risks to the achievement of the savings suggested:

 The service area (parking) was not able to demonstrate how the reduction of income (approx. £600k from the recharge for passes) and impact on their budget would be addressed.

 There has been no demonstration that management are aware of what potential cost would be incurred by changes to the contract costs for pool cars. There has been no data shared that demonstrates a serious consideration of potential need and costs.

 There is no evidence that staff will take up the new employee parking scheme proposed (that in fact is more expensive than alternative private provision currently available) to provide a source of income. It is certain that there will be a reduction of £45k from the removal of the current TU scheme.

 The risk of further cost when more car users working for the authority claim the mileage and parking costs under the current travel and reimbursement policy of which management state “There are no proposals to change existing policies in these areas”.

 No modelling has been done on the impact of an increase in mileage allowance claimed. Joint TU’s and management are aware that the process for claiming mileage costs has proved prohibitive for many staff who use their own cars. Many will seek to recoup the losses they may incur following any proposed change.

 The risk of reduced productivity of already significantly diminished teams due to the extra time taken to use other modes of transport (bus, cycling, walking as suggested in the green plan).

 The risk to provision of urgent response when required by staff if transport is unavailable.

Joint Trade Union Response

Proposal for Revised Car Parking Arrangements May 2018

The criteria proposed for duty passes (80%) is vague enough to give concern to trade union side that consistency of governance and application will be nigh on impossible and deliver no saving.

Joint Trade Union Side rejects the proposal to remove the trade union parking scheme as an attack on trade unions and their members.

Our members have been clear that they will not tolerate the attack on their terms and conditions that this proposal represents. The impact upon the majority of pass holders who use their car in order carry out their duties is unacceptable. It will be a reduction in salary of £660 per year for the majority of our members and as stated above the introduction of the ‘workplace parking passes’ at a cost of £660 per year is not competitive with other passes available in the city.

In moving forward with an ill thought out proposal the authority risks the loss of goodwill from staff who use their own vehicles for work. The potential impact of such a loss upon the overall performance of the Council would be of considerable detriment.

There is the high likelihood that no saving will be achieved in this proposal. At the launch of discussions in August 2017 joint TU’s suggested that first steps management should take before imposing any changes would be the robust application of existing policy which would undoubtedly secure savings with minimal impact. It would also have allowed for a better informed consideration of the savings that could be achieved. Trade Union side are still of the view that current agreed policy should be applied to achieve savings without detriment to individuals or the services they provide on behalf of the authority.