Mental health and wellbeing are major issues in our world and also in the workplace today. A recently produced report in the West Midlands says that “40% of all absenteeism can be attributed to poor mental health. In five years, this is expected to rise to 70%”. These figures are truly shocking and serve as a wake-up call to our employer for appropriate supportive action for all employees. Austerity cuts have left staff under more pressure, facing increased stress and anxiety.
For our part UNISON takes the issue very seriously and has worked with the City Council and MIND to provide a training programme for managers on Mental Health. We would like to see this go further and introduce training for all employees on Mental Health awareness. For those of us who represent members in the workplace we have seen a marked increase in mental health issues presented to us. Mental health needs a much more prominent role in our workplace, a subject which is still too much of a taboo. We must challenge this and as the report suggests “value mental health wellbeing as an asset, not as a hindrance”.
We must create a more open culture and we can do this if our employer steps up to the issue and works with us. We know we work in an environment of constant pressure too and this must be balanced by a supportive workplace culture where employees feel valued.
We have raised the issue with the City Council and intend to discuss a new strategy for Mental Health in our workplaces. Together we can be better. Join UNISON today to help us fight to end discrimination.
Follow WMHD on twitter via – https://twitter.com/WMHDay
Read the Joint Trade Union response to the employer here: Joint_TU_Update050718
The Joint Trades unions of Coventry City Council, UNISON, UNITE and GMB are in Dispute with Coventry City Council regarding proposals to change the employee car parking scheme.
The proposals are to be considered by the City Council on 10 July 2018, in spite of the Dispute being lodged and our request to withdraw the item from the agenda in order to resolve the matter in accordance with the Disputes Procedure. The ill thought proposal will not save money as is suggested, and in fact will potentially cost more to the public purse. The proposals will affect many workers providing frontline services to the people of Coventry, using their own cars, maintained and fuelled at their own expense. We believe that if they had followed the existing procedure correctly the organisation would have made adequate savings in any event.
A spokesperson for the joint trade union side said,
“We see this as a direct attack on our members’ terms and conditions. Workers who have had effectively a 20% pay cut over the last 8 years due to austerity. If every worker who uses their car for work, stopped doing so, they would have to rely on either a very limited number of ‘pool’ cars which will cost £26 per day per car to the council budget or public transport which will slow their productivity down which will have an impact on services. These consequences defeat the object. This at a time of great strain on the organisation in trying to deliver services with less employees. It is all the more unfortunate that Councillors themselves will, we understand, keep their car park passes. What is more the cost savings that will actually be achieved are unclear. What has not been established is exactly who will receive a car park pass. This proposal potentially leaves the council and our members worse off”
The Trades unions will be demonstrating outside the Council House on 10th July at 12.30p.m. before the Meeting.
Contact: Dawn Ward – UNISON – 07535 526062
Mick Shortland – UNITE – 02476 834947
Andy Groves – GMB – 07908 213721
Download this press release via the link below. Thanks
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.
Find out what #Coventry City #UNISON got up to in 2017/18. Read the AGM Report here – Coventry Branch – AGM Reports
Please contact the Branch Welfare Officer if you know of any members, serving or retired, who are likely to suffer hardship or emotional stress over the Christmas period.
Mark any mail as ‘confidential’ and contact us by Tuesday November 28th.
We are currently considering which cases we can put forward to the regional Christmas welfare fund.
Education Convenor, Pensions Champ, Branch Welfare Officer
Coventry City Branch
tel. 02476 550829
Direct line: 02476 521126
Mobile: 07535 526034