Single Status Update - July 2009

At the Norwich City Unison open day last Tuesday, members told us the current issue of most concern to you was single status. We are therefore responding with this feature article to set out the current position of the single status negotiations and keep you informed.

As previously reported, the branch has been heavily involved in the moderation phase of the single status process, with two trained Unison representatives sitting with two employer representatives on each moderation panel. This was to resolve any queries in the job evaluation process and ensure that jobs were evaluated as fairly as possible. The moderation stage of the process was completed recently.

Since then the role of Unison has changed to negotiating the single status agreement on behalf of members. The negotiation with employers focuses on two areas. Firstly, negotiating the terms and conditions in part 3 of the green book that are agreed locally, for example working arrangements such as hours, patterns of working and sickness. The negotiations on these elements have been completed, and existing terms and conditions remain unchanged.

Secondly, Unison is negotiating on the single status agreement proposal. The branch has been liaising with the regional and national offices to facilitate the review of proposals by Unison national office. Experts at Unison headquarters review the pay levels and terms and conditions made in proposals by employers to ensure they are legally sound and promote equality.

The first proposal by Norwich City Council was sent to Unison national office earlier this year. On reviewing this package, Unison headquarters found issues of concern, particularly around equal pay. This proposal was therefore rejected.

The employer has since developed a second revised proposal, which was reported by employers as being taken to the council’s Executive Committee on Wednesday 8 July. If this is approved by Executive the proposals will again be sent to Unison national office, and we expect to hear the findings of the review approximately four weeks from this point.

There are many possible courses of action for the next stages of the process depending on whether this proposal is approved by Unison national office and by members. If the proposal is approved by headquarters, the branch will start an official ballot of members, and all information needed to make an informed decision on how to cast your vote will be available.

If members accept the proposal the scheme will be implemented, and if rejected the branch will consider what action should be taken. Unison is a member-led organisation, and your voice will be crucial in determining the way forward.

We will await the results of the review of the revised proposals and will continue to inform you of the latest news and developments.