Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Branch Secretary’s Report from this years AGM

Branch Secretary’s Report 

Stewards and Officers and Members:- Here we are again, another year has passed, this job really doesn’t get any easier, but it would be even harder without the support from all of you here today, so I need to say a huge thank you to all of you.

Nothing really changes in the world of trade unions in the workplace. The past year has been yet another difficult year for all of your elected stewards and Officers, who have been dealing with a multitude of issues.

As a branch committee we have had to deal with many things from representing members who have fallen foul of disciplinary, attendance policies etc. Re-structures appear to have tailed off slightly but only to be replaced with the Admin review. We have had to make some difficult decisions, which to be fair is why you have elected us.

Policies:- Every year we are trying to improve on existing policies when they come up for review, for example we have just recently agreed a much need improved family leave policy, which takes into account the new legislation relating to maternity/Paternity leave, but what we are particularly proud of is that we now have is recognition for fertility treatment, and have achieved some paid time off for both the female receiving the treatment and also partners wishing to take time off work to support a partner undergoing fertility treatment for up to two days paid leave in any leave year.  Now we know that this isn’t overly generous, but it’s a great start, and I think this is a first in local Government, so maybe we are helping to change perceptions.
The attendance Policy that was reviewed last year was imposed upon us, and implemented without Trade Union Agreement. We were unable to negotiate a better deal for those of us who suffer with a Disability related illnesses, this particular issue was a big deal for us, and that is one of the reasons why we couldn’t agree to it.
Now we are getting into dangerous territory as an organisation. We have been given a new policy to review, the Employee Data Monitoring Policy, this will give the employer the right to use CCTV monitoring and any other electronic monitoring equipment to spy on employees and to use the data collected when carrying out  Disciplinary’ s, or attendance issues, it is imperative that we kick this into touch, personally I believe this is illegal and they shouldn’t be able to do this unless there is strong evidence to suggest that a crime is being committed. On this basis I have requested advice from our Regional representatives.
It is vital that we have your support on this one; we will take it to a ballot if necessary.  This is an invasion of your privacy; we must not allow this policy to go through! It’s a step to far” I have already had two cases in the last 12 months within the same service area, where CCTV footage and entry fob data has been the main driving force behind two long serving members of staff, with no previous records of a disciplinary nature. This is nothing short of Spying on you, together we can tell the Council what we think! But we must be one voice!!
Re-structures/Admin Review 
Re-structures was the main focus for the branch in previous years, and haven’t we had some bad ones!! Whilst they haven’t completely gone away, they are being disguised under the banner of the Admin Re-view, even after repeated warnings to the employer about how this will not work in this authority, (as we are too small and to diverse) it is clear that our opinions have not been considered, I would challenge anyone who has already been through this process to tell me if they completely understand how this works, Because it has certainly baffled me and my colleagues on your Branch Committee.

We as a branch are very concerned about the Admin Review for some good reasons, primarily, we are concerned that some individuals will be unnecessarily made redundant based on their poor review outcomes. Secondly if they are so concerned about productivity, it is our belief this is going to have a huge detrimental effect on just that, it really does not make any sense what’s so ever.  

Partnership Payment
As many of you will remember we had quite an issue with the way that the Partnership Payment was calculated, as it appeared that HR had moved the goal posts without seeking agreement, or at least finalising it! this in turn, meant that some of you were a £100 light in your salaries.  That being said we came out the other side with a much better deal going forward for all eligible recipients.

Recruitment will always be one of our main focuses; to be affective; we must at all costs, keep our membership numbers up! And that isn’t just our responsibility as a branch committee, but yours as well, we are all part of this union, and I urge you strongly, to encourage your colleagues who are not members, or new starters to Join, tell them what we do, tell them don’t leave it till it’s too late,  because if they do leave it, they’re in trouble, and we cannot represent them until they have been a member for six weeks. I think we have proven to you all, how valuable it is to have a trade union presence within the workplace.  Without them your T&Cs would be appalling!

Nice Things
We recently funded the purchase of Table Tennis equipment, which has been well used and a few competitions have taken place, it has to be one of the best things we have invested in for a while. If you fancy a game get in-touch with David Brown in Regeneration-Major Projects team.

The Membership Christmas Parties were a great success again especially the Raffles, this year we will be doing something similar, unless any of you has any better ideas please let us know, if it’s affordable, we’ll do it.

Once again thank you all for your continued support.

Caroline Glendinning

Branch Secretary

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