UNISON is taking the unusual step of publishing its response, to the recently ended CFA Shared Management Proposal. The decision to do this is a direct response to Cambridgeshire County Council ( and Peterborough City Council), to keep this consultation 'private' to the individuals effected. UNISON does not believe that this is how an open, transparent and democratic Council should behave. Keeping this 'secret' from the remainder of the workforce and the tax paying public of the County, may well lead some to believe that there is something to hide, or a hidden agenda.
Further questions arose when UNISON were informed that the CEO of Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils; Gillian Beasley, was unaware that all other previous consultations were 'open', and published on the Council's intranet. Despite Gillian writing the introductions and hopefully contributing to the development of the new structures. UNISON finds this as extraordinary. The full UNISON response can be found next.
This years AGM took place at a new venue,though it was just over the road on our main site of Shire Hall, numbers were well down on previous years. As the calibre of the speakers was again high the only reasons for the lower than expected turn out were put at the new venue and that the implementation of the cuts had largely been dealth with. Do let the Branch know what stopped you attending, or what would make you attend in the future.
Those who did attend heard a passionate speech from the Council's Labour leader Ashley Walsh. Ashley detailed the disasterous decision taken at the February Budget meeting not to raise Council tax this year, and only to implement the Adult Social Care precept. The blame was firmly at the feet of Tory and Ukip Councillors, for those who attended part, or as I did upto 17.30, the meeting lasted until after 2200 hours! That was certainly a correct assessment of the decision. I heard Tory and Ukip Councillors trading issues to garner support for the budget proposal put forward by the Conservative group, a truly worrying future.
Prior to Ashley speaking, Branch Chair Clare Andrews welcomed everyone and went through the normal business of the AGM. Our finance officer presented the 'budget' for 2016 and answered questions from the floor on spending in last years accounts. It was agreed that a more detailed explanation of the groups the Branch affiliates to and donates money would be provided next year. I then went through my 5 page Branch Secretary Report, highlighting the issues many members are speaking to me about, performance pay and the proliferation of PIP's, rising levels of stress caused by work and the danger of raising this especially if you work in Social Care. And of course the £45 million pounds of savings for this year, and the following 4 years whilst this Government remains in power. Surely this Council will be reduced to a hollow husk by 2020, with our administartive capital being Northampton.
Several members spoke to me afterwards or emailed to say that they found Ashley a good speaker, but several more spoke very highly about our second speaker Prf. Keith Ewing. Keith is a distinguished academic and author of many articles on employment legislation. He co-wrote the Institute of Employment Rights response to the Trade Union Bill and I had asked him to report on this major issue. A major issue not only for Trade Unionist, but for all worker's. The bill may be wrapped up in a TU wrapper, but it's effect crosses all boundaries, so all workers need to unite and fight against this Bill.
Keith's knowledge on this subject was very apparent, without any notes he delivered a 20 minute lecture on the perils this Bill will bring to worker's, and the weakening of Trade Union involvement in areas such as collective bargaining; your hourly rate of pay. It is due to come back to The Commons with a few amendments http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2016/lords-trade-union-bill/ shortly, so we need to be ready to continue our resistance to this Bill.
In Solidarity; Rob Turner
All UNISON members employed by Cambridgeshire County Council and who are paid, within the Management Band pay grades, will shortly receive a ballot paper. The ballot paper simply asks for your acceptance or rejection of the MB pay review. You should of already received notification from the Employer regarding this, and where you 'sit' in the proposed new pay band. As 13% of workers within the MB grades will lose out on this review, UNISON is not making any recomendations which way you should vote.
UNISON members within the MB pay grades will receive all information via. email, the ballot will also be conducted electronically. Those members who UNISON Cambridgeshire Branch does not hold an email address for, will receive their ballot paper in the post. The ballot opens on Friday 20th November and closes, Friday 4th December.
Cambridgeshire County Branch is delighted to announce that we have two confirmed speakers, for our 2016 AGM.
We have the Leader of the Labour Group at the County Council, Ashley Walsh. Councillor Walsh's ward is the Petersfield area of Cambridge. For those who don't know where Petersfield is, Mill Road is said to divide the ward, North and South. Ashley is the relatively new leader of the Labour group, taking on the role from Paul Sales in May 2015, after being voted as the Petersfield representative in the previous years elections.
Above: Ashley on the campaign trail with the Branch's friend and MEP Richard Howitt Below: Professor Keith Ewing; President of the Institute of Employment Rights and a very informative booklet.
We are delighted to have as a speaker Professor Keith Ewing. Keith is Professor of Public Law at King's College London. He has written extensively on labour law including recognition procedures and international standards. He is also the President of the Institute of Employment Rights, a 'Think Tank' for the Labour movement. The Branch is well aware of the work the Institute does in support of workers. Much of our Employment Law guidance comes from institute as we subscribe to their site, in return for booklets and pamphlets on employment matters. Many of you will of taken part, and still are, in the Anti Trade Union Bill campaign. One of the most useful pieces of literature was Professor Ewings booklet, which was produced with John Hendry QC,
The Branch looks forward to greeting both speakers at our 2016 AGM and the usual Q & A session. We hope that you will too.
Due to reasons beyond our control, being the 'sale' of the lease on the Bailey Rooms. We have unfortunately had to seek an alternative venue for our AGM next year. We have been fortunate to be able to hire the hall at Casle Hill Methodist Church, which is a very short walk from the Shire Hall site.
Due to an existing booking of the hall, we have also had to reschedule the date to Tuesday 1st March 2016. For those who have an interest in rules, this remains within UNISON rules for when an AGM has to be concluded by. All details will be forwarded in the next few weeks.
Due to the above, the Branch Management Team would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused. We do not have any speakers confirmed, but as soon as we have, we will be announcing it on this part of the website.