Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Success Story from an Oxford City Council’s UNISON steward

Following fraught negotiations with a manager one of our stewards supported and achieved a reduced hours contract for a member under the flexible working policy. The request was previously refused, however, following advice, guidance and leadership from one of your stewards this was eventually reconsidered in the members favour.

I have recently gone through negotiations of the flexible working policy for childcare reasons and was surprised to find out that under the policy I only have a RIGHT to request for flexible working NOT to receive it. My right to request is only due to the fact that I am:

·         An employee;

·         Have worked continuously for 26 weeks at the date of request made;

·         Have caring responsibilities for the child or adult in respect of whom the request is being made; and

·         Not have made a formal request to work flexibly during the last 12 months (each 12 months period runs from the date when the most recent application was made).

There is a checklist for caring for adults which was something I was not originally aware of and if you are caring for a relative adult or child who you have carers responsibilities for and you would like to know more information about this please do not hesitate to contact us on oxfordunison@gmail.com or contact the local branch officer on 01865 252522.

There are 8 statutory business reasons for rejection:

a)    The burden of additional costs

b)    Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

c)    Inability to reorganise work among existing staff

d)    Inability to recruit additional staff

e)    Detrimental impact on performance

f)     Insufficiency of work during the periods that you propose to work

g)    Planned changes.

In my case, it is worth noting that the Council turned my original request down; however they did offer me a reasonable alternative following a discussion with my Union representative at the time – I was very thankful for being member so UNISON could negotiate a settlement for me.

If it was not for the Unions Stewards keeping those lines of communications open, liaising, putting across sensible reasonable arguments for or against; then such settlements may never be gained for members.

This is one of many success stories that go unreported by our Stewards and Officers and it is time we stop dwelling on the few losses and demonstrate that we are there for you when you need us and we can influence decisions that affect you the members.

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