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Union Contribution (H3)

Cuts

Portfolio: Efficiency and Resources Portfolio

Description

Stop paying the wage of Unison's Full Time (FT) Branch official.  The official would then either;

  1. Move back to their substantive role or
  2. Remain a full time representative for Unison but with Unison funding, the post and the Official’s substantive post remains open to return to for a set period of time
  3. Official remains a full time representative for Unison, Unison fund the post and the substantive post of the Official is no longer a secondment, a resignation would be expected 

Consideration needs to be taken for the full time contract cover of the Branch Official should he return to his substantive post.

There are 715 employees who pay Unison subscriptions via the Council’s payroll (approximately 33%), it is unknown whether this is reflective of Unison membership across the Council as members can also opt to pay via direct debt.

There are 13 Unison Stewards representing employees, some are more active than others in dealing with employee relations issues (case work, formal consultation processes, policy development, sitting on trade union meetings)

The Officials substantive post is current being filled by a fixed term contract, renewable on an annual basis. 

Trade Unions stewards recorded time off for union duties was 2013/14 – 21 days, 2014/15 – 22 days, 2015/16 to July 1.75 days.  This excludes full time Officials time.  It would be expected that this time would increase if the proposal is approved and a FT official is not available.

The Council wants to maintain good industrial relations and good working relationships with the Unions help to accomplish this.  If this funding was not added back and Unison decided not to fund the post there would be a reduced capacity within Unison for helping members and employer negotiations. 

Link

H3 Union Contribution

This proposal will be discussed at the Efficiency and Resources scrutiny committee [PDF document] on 31 March 2016.

Your Say

7 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal

Comment

Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)

Private sector companies don't pay for full time officials or allow for excessive time off for shop stewards, so why should the council. Time to come into the real world.

Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)

Union contributions should not be deducted by the Council from payroll. This non-core work should be covered by the Union or by member's Direct Debit.

Core EffR5 (Members Allowances)
Core LLE12 (Indoor and Outdoor Markets)
Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)
Core EffR19 (Senior Management costs)

Letter about the current services, Crown Street Library, Covered Market, senior management and other options.

Documents


FF 52o (Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Subscription)
Cut H02 (Subscriptions - NEREO)
Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)
Cut D02 (Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Subscription)

Comments on the Medium Term Financial Plan


In relation to the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) consultations, I have the following comments. The comments are mainly covering areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, of which I am a member of the scrutiny committee covering that portfolio.


Over the last several weeks as a scrutiny committee we have been looking at the finer details of each of the budget areas contained therein.


It’s worth mentioning that the financial position of the Council is a difficult one, it must cut 10.2m by 2020; by any standard that’s quite a challenge. Therefore, any decisions reached must be taken in the spirit of context, that it’s not what we would like to have, but what we can actually afford.


In this time of making difficult choices around where to spend money, partially in relation to Adult’s and Children’s services, we cannot continue to pay or indeed support services which in my opinion are nice to haves.


The Council is proposing turning off Darlington’s Christmas lights, removing funding for the Darlington Credit Union, cutting our grass less often and relocating the crown street library.

The cumulative impacts of these decisions could be severely damaging to Darlington strategic aim of becoming a leader in the tees valley.

I have identified some items of interest and intrigue that I feel fall within the ‘nice to have’ category and are as follows:


• £50,000 for the Community Engagement team, responsibilities of which could be absorbed into a senior officer’s role, perhaps the Darlington Partnership? As the Chair of Darlington’s largest community charity, we have not received any direct or indirect support from the Council. I understand the counter argument, that we’re big enough to support ourselves, however I know very little about what impacts that team has actually has on the wider community, therefore that money could be better spend, and be perhaps more appropriately invested to have a more tangible impact on the wider local community.


• Subscription to NEREO (North East Regional Employers Organisation) at a cost total of £16,176 per year, for advice a support with HR matters, Organisational Development and Employee Relations. This kind of skill set and support tool should be already lay within the responsibility of senior Council officers, at that level it is down to the individual employees to drive personal development and be aware of any corporate and legal trends in the industry.


• The Council’s Contribution to a private union of £ 43,304 per year. Private companies would not support this and I’m concerned that a public body does. I think employee representation is hugely important, but this can be achieved in a number of ways, either through voluntary support programmes or by the union member contributing more themselves. I know of hugely successful employee assistance programmes that work effectively without a huge financial cost to the business.


• The Council’s LGA (Local Government Association) Subscription £25,061 per year. I have seen no evidence that this subscription brings any value to the Council and in this modern age of digital communications, keeping in the loop about changes in local government can be easily accessed on a number of free forums and platforms.


Again, these comments cover areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, the MTFP is a complex one, however I feel the above budget lines were the most obvious ‘nice to haves’


Scrapping these none essential budget lines will save the Council a total, £134,541,00.


Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)

letter about the proposals regarding the Union representative post

Documents


FF 52m (Community Development and Engagement)
Cut H02 (Subscriptions - NEREO)
Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)
Cut D02 (Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Subscription)

In relation to the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) consultations, I have the following comments. The comments are mainly covering areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, of which I am a member of the scrutiny committee covering that portfolio. Over the last several weeks as a scrutiny committee we have been looking at the finer details of each of the budget areas contained therein. It’s worth mentioning that the financial position of the Council is a difficult one, it must cut 10.2m by 2020; by any standard that’s quite a challenge. Therefore, any decisions reached must be taken in the spirit of context, that it’s not what we would like to have, but what we can actually afford. In this time of making difficult choices around where to spend money, partially in relation to Adult’s and Children’s services, we cannot continue to pay or indeed support services which in my opinion are nice to haves. The Council is proposing turning off Darlington’s Christmas lights, removing funding for the Darlington Credit Union, cutting our grass less often and relocating the crown street library. The cumulative impacts of these decisions could be severely damaging to Darlington strategic aim of becoming a leader in the tees valley. I have identified some items of interest and intrigue that I feel fall within the ‘nice to have’ category and are as follows: • £50,000 for the Community Engagement team, responsibilities of which could be absorbed into a senior officer’s role, perhaps the Darlington Partnership? As the Chair of Darlington’s largest community charity, we have not received any direct or indirect support from the Council. I understand the counter argument, that we’re big enough to support ourselves, however I know very little about what impacts that team has actually has on the wider community, therefore that money could be better spend, and be perhaps more appropriately invested to have a more tangible impact on the wider local community. • Subscription to NEREO (North East Regional Employers Organisation) at a cost total of £16,176 per year, for advice a support with HR matters, Organisational Development and Employee Relations. This kind of skill set and support tool should be already lay within the responsibility of senior Council officers, at that level it is down to the individual employees to drive personal development and be aware of any corporate and legal trends in the industry. • The Council’s Contribution to a private union of £ 43,304 per year. Private companies would not support this and I’m concerned that a public body does. I think employee representation is hugely important, but this can be achieved in a number of ways, either through voluntary support programmes or by the union member contributing more themselves. I know of hugely successful employee assistance programmes that work effectively without a huge financial cost to the business. • The Council’s LGA (Local Government Association) Subscription £25,061 per year. I have seen no evidence that this subscription brings any value to the Council and in this modern age of digital communications, keeping in the loop about changes in local government can be easily accessed on a number of free forums and platforms. Again, these comments cover areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, the MTFP is a complex one, however I feel the above budget lines were the most obvious ‘nice to haves’ Scrapping these none essential budget lines will save the Council a total, £134,541,00.

Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)

Unison response letter to Unison proposal

Documents