Thursday, 28 November 2013

Chief Executive talks to the Guardian

Bit of a late "news" story we know but we would like to welcome the comments in the article especially the quotes attributed towards UNISON.

The article was released in the Guardian on 02/10/2013 and includes many direct quotations from Peter Sloman

"We have demonstrated that you don't need to privatise services. We've also proved that you can motivate people. We do not want to see our services externalised to a for-profit organisation. We should be an exemplar for running those services,"

"For me, if you want to get the best out of the public service workforce, you're not going to do it by privatising them, by handing them over to companies they can see are not as able to manage services locally as the council themselves,"

There were favourable references to our Pay Deal but with no attributable quote.

UNISON feels the attributable quotes about not needing to privatise services are a welcome assertion; however, UNISON does recognise that the sentence 'We do not want to see our services externalised to a for-profit organisation' does complicate the message.

Does this mean that we have demonstrated that we don't need to privatise services; but if we do, they can only be to non-profit organisations, like Fusion?

What does this say about "part-privatisation"? Using Capita as an ever increasing "overflow" for the Contact Centre or Mouchel for administration tasks. Are these "for profit organisations" and do they pay the Living Wage? How do we know they are "exemplar for running those services"?

UNISON does sympathise with the complexities of these issues and can see how newspapers can blur quotations and mis-represent particular key points. But, we would like to see some clarification regarding (what we can see as) the blurred message which can be in the form of  a re-asserted rebuke and a re-affirmation that at Oxford City Council:


Monday, 11 November 2013

Another Success Story from an Oxford City Council's UNISON Steward

Steward success is not always about successfully defending members in times of crises. They are proactive in seeking the best circumstances for members; representing your voice within meetings where decisions are made about Workforce Management and Performance Management. Unions are the only negotiating party who work on behalf of members.

A success story within Customer Contact is where our Steward (Lorraine Francis) has got into those decision making meetings and tirelessly works on behalf of the members in Customer Contact.

How did she get there? UNISON conducted a survey of members within the Contact Centre. We asked questions about their feelings towards their work and what their confidence is on the current circumstances.

Lorraine, represented the data to management and as a result of this effort she has regular FORTNIGHTLY meetings with management to discuss issues within the Contact Centre. Customer Contact Managers have also agreed, as part of being open and transparent, to send her on the 3 day Work force Management training; which, means she is able to have a more informed perspective on decisions to enable her to be in a powerful position when negotiations take place.

Respect also goes to the Customer Contact Managers who have listened to UNISON's concerns and acted on them in a positive way. Lorraine considers that she has more input now on anything that may become an issue and affect staff morale and she has an input on they way things are being implemented.

If you work in the Contact Centre and if you are are not a Member please feel free to email or approach Lorraine Francis if you would like further information about UNISON's work at Oxford City Council. If you work in the Contact Centre and you ARE a Member please feel free to contact Lorraine if you are experiencing any issuesat work.

If you work in other departments and would like to know more information about who your contact is please email or contact the local branch office at 01865 252522.

And finally, if you are interested in becoming a steward for your area, where you are:
  • Entitled to time off for training
  • Entitled to Facility time
  • Assist members in your area
  • Negotiate on decisions that affects you and your members in your department (see article above)
  • Have the right to vote at branch committee on Council policy decisions and the direction of YOUR union.
Please email the branch secretary Caroline Glendinning at  or call the office on 01865 252522.

Christmas News

Not really news yet; but a decision will be made very soon about what Oxford City UNISON branch is doing for the festive season. Keep checking; it will be very exciting!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Another Success Story from an Oxford City Council's UNISON Steward

UNISON stewards are there to help all members with issues at work and one particular example is when a member is under disciplinary. Oxford City's UNISON branch understand the stress and anguish when this situation occurs to our members and we are very experienced in dealing with a disciplinary. We have officers and stewards trained by the Regional Training programmes and we seek to represent and resolve the issue in the best interest of OUR members.

One of our members was subjected to a disciplinary and one our esteemed stewards recognised that the investigation was not subject to procedure and that our member should have been praised for the work he did during an extremely emotional and stressful time rather than disciplined.

Our Steward got him off all charges and highlighted concerns about management not following procedure at one of our leisure centres. Our Branch Secretary is meeting with the HR department of Fusion (who run our Leisure Centres) and will express the concerns the UNISON Branch have with management not following procedure. We will report on the outcome of this meeting.

This is a great example of Oxford City's UNISON being there for members in times of crisis and representing you on your behalf for a positive solution.

If you have any questions about the disciplinary process at Oxford City Council or have any other concerns that we can help with please do not hesitate to contact your Steward or email or contact the local branch office at 01865 252522.


Following recent Membership Feedback relating to a previous article (dated 15/10/2013 Attendance Management Policy up for Review); Oxford City's UNISON Branch Committee recognised that members find it difficult to find the time to read an entire 50 page policy. Further to this, the Branch Committee recognises that it is difficult to give feedback when you do not know what changes are being proposed.

The Branch has therefore AGREED to a new process for new and adjusted Policies and Procedures (Terms and Conditions).

The Branch Committee PROPOSES that management:

  1. Send the Branch Secretary a completed form indicating the policy/procedure name and the date of the proposal and date to be implemented. Then each proposed policy or change to existing policy listed to ensure we understand what is proposed.
  2. The Branch Secretary informs the Branch Committee of the form and sends the form to the membership for their feedback on the proposals.
  3. The Branch Committee considers the proposals and the feedback from member to determine the next course of action and what counter proposals can be offered or what can be accepted.
  4. Negotiation Team meets with Management to get the best deal for members.
  5. That 'Best' deal gets voted by Branch Committee
  6. Branch Committee communicates to membership of the result
  7. Negotiation Team meets with Management to ensure the wording in the document reflects the proposals that have been AGREED.
  8. Branch Committee communicates the new Policy and Procedure to the members with the details of what they have won on their behalf.
This new proposal ensures that YOU the MEMBERS have a direct opportunity to provide feedback on changes that are proposed AND you have the opportunity to express your own suggestions for improvements.

If you want to have the ability to vote on these decisions the Branch Committee would welcome any volunteers to join. Please email or call the local branch office at 01865 252522.


Oxford City's UNISON Branch Committee is supporting Oxford City Council's 'Best Companies "b heard" survey. The Branch Committee feel that feedback on this level is making a larger impact now than previous survey's and would hope that all of OUR Members voices are represented; you can do it in work time and the City Council will donate £1.00 to Maggies Oxford AND Crisis Skylight for ever survey returned!

For more information call Oxford City Council's HR team on 252848.

Please sign the £10 billion bailout petition

The government must fund local councils properly to keep communities safe and rebuild the country after the pandemic. Unless ministers ...