Bulletin 2 – Ballot running to 6 August

Consultative Ballot underway

Members have had Bulletin 2 posted today (24 July 2018), along with a Freepost envelope and covering letter which asks you to return your vote by 6 August on whether to Accept or Reject the improved offer proposing to change your Terms and Conditions. Details of the offer are in Bulletin 2 below. Because this is a Consultative Ballot members who asked not to receive mailings from UNISON will not receive anything. This is because of our legal duty to comply with Data Protection legislation. In the event that there was a Ballot for Industrial Action all members would receive a Ballot paper regardless of their mailing preferences for UNISON correspondence. If you have not received the Bulletin in the post by 29 July, or wish to change your mailing preferences contact us by Email to unison.norfolkcounty@btconnect.com

NorseCare News – Bulletin 2- Dated 23 July 2018

Firstly thanks for the enormous response from UNISON members to the consultation with proposals that would have cut your pay & conditions of service. We had nearly 300 in the UNISON Office and think Norsecare would have received even more.

On 16th July we had our first negotiating meeting with management. Our position was that it was perfectly clear UNISON members overwhelming opposed the cuts. From workplace meetings across the county we got a sense that the most unpopular proposals were cuts to sick pay, losing the concessionary day at Christmas and losing the days’ Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) when working bank holidays.

Norsecare explained their financial challenges to us whereby Norfolk County Council were expecting Norsecare to save £3.5 million, a huge amount. Whilst we could agree that NCC were acting unreasonably UNISON could not accept that our members would pay the price.

We could also agree that agency spend was too high and that we would work with Norsecare to try and reduce sickness levels thereby reducing the need to call on agencies. UNISON did not accept the argument that cutting sick pay would improve attendance levels.

After frank discussions Norsecare agreed to consider alternative proposals.

Norsecare’s new offer will mean

  • TOIL when working bank holidays is retained
  • The concessionary day off at Christmas is retained although it will now be added to your annual leave allocation for you to take during the year. The ½ day that is awarded some Christmas’ however will still be cut
  • The changes to sick pay will be less severe. You retain the first 3 days paid at SSP levels. Entitlement for long term sickness reduces from 6 months full pay and 6 months ½ pay for those with over 5 years’ service to 4 months full pay and 4 months ½ pay. If you have worked for Norsecare between 2 & 5 years your sick pay will be 3 months full pay and 3 months ½ pay (currently it would be either 4 or 5 months)
  • The original proposal for overtime will not be altered
  • Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) will be unchanged, but you will require to return to work for Norsecare for 6 months otherwise they will reclaim the OMP you have been paid.
  • Night Care & Support Workers will see an hourly pay increase from £8.09 to £8.70 per hour to help address the recruitment crisis.

Your Stewards’ View

Thanks to the huge support from work places and individual members Norsecare have seriously considered the issues that matter most to UNISON members. We cannot deny that we are still unhappy that there are still reductions.

Long term sickness pay is reducing and we are losing ½ day every 3 in 7 Christmas’s under the current proposal. We have flagged up the changes in overtime risks people not doing it thereby increasing agency spend still further. Improving the pay for night workers is long over do as short staffing has been a major problem for members who work nights. We accept that day worker pay rates also need to increase but that will have to be funded by Norfolk County Council. UNISON will continue to lobby the Council to become a Real Living Wage employer and also to properly fund Norsecare. So although not a perfect offer it is a significant improvement on what we previously faced. That being so, we believe UNISON members should have the right to vote whether they accept it or not.

Implications of the vote

If a majority of UNISON members vote “YES” to accept the revised offer UNISON will sign off an agreement with Norsecare which changes the conditions of service of all the workers in Norsecare, including non-members.

This will introduce the changes from dates that are agreed with Norsecare but the majority will be 1 April 2019 but the overtime threshold change would be from 1 February 2019.

If a majority vote “NO” we will go back to Norsecare to see if we can get an improved offer. If Norsecare refuse and say this is their final offer we will ballot our members on what action you are prepared to take to put further pressure on them. This would have to be industrial action to have any influence on Norsecare. If a majority vote for action we would declare a dispute with Norsecare and if no resolution was found, seek authority from UNISON to pursue industrial action. If we do not get a majority supporting action we will have to agree to the proposal by default.

So whatever the outcome will be, it is decided upon by UNISON members.