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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 17 November, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Proposed Revision to Terms and Conditions of Employment

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To ask Cabinet to approve a number of proposed changes to terms and conditions of employment as a basis for continuing negotiations with the trade unions and the signing of a potential collective agreement.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the proposed changes to the Car Mileage Allowance Scheme as set out in paragraphs 9 to 28 of this report as a basis for final consultation with staff and the trade unions and the terms of a potential collective agreement.

2.         That Cabinet approve the proposed changes to other terms of conditions as set out in paragraphs 29 to 57 subject to further consultation with staff and the trade unions and as a potential extension to the original 2011 Single Status Collective Agreement.

3.         That the changes to the 2011 Single Status Agreement as set out in 2 above form the basis for consultation with school governing bodies and recommended implementation within all community schools.

4.         That Cabinet note other elements of a wider framework agreement as set out in paragraphs 58 to 61 that are being progressed in consultation with the trade unions and in order to help manage change.

5.         That delegated authority is given to the Managing Director in consultation with the Leader to finalise negotiations with the trade unions in relation to the above issues and the signing of any resultant collective agreement.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To help contribute to current savings targets across all service areas.

2.         To help resolve a number of residual issues that were not finalised as part of the original 2011 Single Status Collective negotiations.

3.         As 2 above.

4.         To keep members informed of continuing work being progressed in partnership with the recognised trades unions as part of the Council's Change Forum.

5.         To help finalise negotiations and the terms of a collective agreement.

Background

2.         Members will be aware that discussions have been progressing with the trade unions over the last 12 months in relation to the continuing budget challenges being faced by the Council, the continuing need to modernise terms and conditions and the need to attend to some of the issues outstanding from the 2011 Single Status Agreement.

3.         From the Council's point of view such discussions will need to continue as the budget pressures grow and the need to find alternative and increasingly more effective and efficient ways of providing services increases.

4.         In the meantime, however a position has been reached with the trade unions in relation to a number of specific issues and where the approval of Cabinet is now needed prior to formally seeking a collective agreement.

5.         The headline element of the above relates to the Council's proposed withdrawal from the nationally negotiated scheme for car allowance rates from the 1st April 2015 and the establishment of local rates for employees using cars for business mileage.

6.         The other main element of a proposed agreement relates to the harmonisation of annual leave arrangements for those on Green Book/Single Status terms and conditions and other issues "left over" from the Single Status Agreement in 2011.

7.         The purpose of this report is to seek approval from Cabinet for the progression of both of the above elements by way of final consultation with staff and the trade unions and hopefully the achievement of an imminent collective agreement.

8.         The report also provides a summary of other issues being progressed in partnership with the trade unions in accordance with the aims of the Council's Workforce Plan.

Propose changes to the Car Mileage Scheme

9.         Members will be aware that the current national car user rates are as follows:-

                           Engine Size

451 to 999cc

1000-1199cc

1200-1450cc

Essential Users

 

 

 

                              Lump Sum

      £846

       £963

     £1,239

Per Mile for first 8500 miles

      36.9p

       40.9p

       50.5p

Casual Users

 

 

 

Per Mile for first 8500 miles

      46.9p

       52.2p

       65.0p

All users above 8500 miles

      13.7p

       14.4p

       16.4p

 

10.      In the Vale, the practice of paying essential user allowances ceased in February 2007 for all new employees, for those gaining promotion and for those transferring to new posts as a result of restructuring. A one year protection arrangement has been in place for employees in the latter position.

11.      As a result of this change, the numbers of staff paid on essential user rates has dropped from almost 500 in 2007 to 158 at the end of 2013/2014.  The categorisation of such staff  by negotiating group is as follows:-

Staff

Numbers

JNC Chief Officers

             13

Soulbury (Education Staff)

               3

NJC Single status

           142

Total

           158

 

12.      There has been no evidence of any adverse service implications as a result of this policy.

13.      In the financial year 2013/14 the breakdown of employees claiming both essential and casual car user allowance was as set out in the following table:-

 

 

 

 

Summary 2013-14

      Casual

    Essential

       Total

 

 

 

 

Number of users

                 680

                 158

                 838

Number of miles

          891,521

          215,118

       1,106,639

 

 

 

 

Payments

 

 

 

Mileage

   £569,459.04

   £107,643.70

   £677,102.74

Lump sums

 

   £183,650.93

   £183,650.93

 

 

 

 

Total

   £569,459.04

   £291,294.63

   £860,753.67

 

 

 

 

Average per user

 

 

 

Mileage

              1,311

              1,361

              1,321

Payment

          £837.44

       £1,843.64

       £1,027.15

Average cost per mile

              £0.64

              £1.35

              £0.78

 

14.      Some employees already opt voluntarily to claim at 45p per mile in line with the HMRC rates, thus avoiding tax.  In 2013-14 a total of 306 staff exercised this option. Mileage rates for elected members are in line with the HMRC rate of 45p per mile.

15.      Members will be aware that negotiations with the trade unions in relation to car mileage have been ongoing for some considerable time but without satisfactory resolution.  Such discussions have been progressed with UNISON, UNITE and GMB, the recognised trades unions representing the great majority of staff undertaking business related mileage.

16.      The Council have, however persisted with the negotiations as a result of the need to find savings from car mileage and because of increasing evidence that this Council is now one of the few authorities in Wales to be paying for mileage in accordance with the national rates.

17.      As part of the negotiations a number of potential protections have been explored with the unions in order to reduce the adverse effects of the changes for staff and in an attempt to conclude an agreement. Such protections are as set out in paragraph 22. 

18.      On the basis of the above the unions have now indicated an intention to seek the views of their members on the issue by way of a formal membership ballot.

19.      This helpful change reflects an acknowledgement by the unions of the wider and unprecedented financial challenges being faced by this authority and the Council's determination to implement a revised car mileage scheme for the reasons set out.

20.      The potential agreement in relation to this issue should also be seen in the context of the wider framework agreement as set out in this report.

21.      In accordance with the above, Cabinet are asked to approve the following proposals as a means of managing an incremental withdrawal from national car mileage rates and as a basis for final consultation with the trades unions.

·               The extended protection of essential car user lump sum payments for the
remaining 158 essential car users for a further year up until 31st March 2016.

·               The transfer of all remaining essential car users to applicable casual user rates
with effect from 1st April 2016 irrespective of car engine size.

·               The removal of the top casual user mileage rate (i.e. for cars with engine sizes of  
1200 cc and above) with effect from 1st April 2015.

·               The payment of car mileage rates for all business use in accordance with HMRC rates (currently 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles) with effect from 1st April 2016 irrespective of engine size.

22.      As part of the above, arrangements will be made to explore the viability of a corporate car/vehicle pool scheme to help mitigate any adverse business effects of the above arrangements alongside other alternative transport options.

23.      References in employment contracts will retain the requirement (where appropriate) for employees to be able to hold a valid driving licence and to be able to travel in order to effectively undertake the requirements of their jobs, but will not require such employees to provide their own vehicle for this purpose.

24.      Based on the profile of existing car users the above arrangement will achieve savings of approximately £120k in 2015/16 and a total of £360k in 2016/17.

25.      The leasing costs of providing pooled cars/vehicles will need to be offset by the planned and consequent reduction in claimed mileage rates.

26.      Subject to approval by Members the trades unions have agreed to consult their members as part of a union ballot in December 2014. Any collective agreement which results from this process will take effect from 1st April 2015 subject to the transitional arrangements as set out in paragraph 21 above.

27.      It is clearly understood by trade union colleagues that the protections and phased reduction arrangements as set out in paragraph 21 would be contingent on a collective agreement being reached following a ballot of the trade union membership.

28.      The terms of a draft collective agreement with the unions is set out in Appendix A.

Harmonisation of Basic Annual Leave Entitlement

29.      One of the remaining areas of inconsistency in terms and conditions for Single Status/Green Book employees is in relation to annual leave, both in terms of the basic entitlement to leave and the way it is calculated for term time only staff.

30.      The inconsistency in entitlement is largely the result of the continuation of protection arrangements for staff transferring from the former South Glamorgan County with enhanced annual leave provisions in 1996. This applies to some 31 employees who continue to receive up to four days more than the current single status provisions.

31.      It is also the case that some 157 staff in the Council's Catering Unit have traditionally received a day less than other Council staff; an issue which was not rectified when negotiating the 2011 Single Status Agreement.

32.      The approval of Cabinet is now sought to rectify the above inconsistencies as part of and agreed amendment to the 2011 Single Status Collective Agreement.

33.      A summary of the current and proposed annual leave entitlement schemes are as set out in the table below:-

Group

Salary Reference

Less than 5 years service

5 years or more service

CURRENT PROVISIONS

 

 

 

 

Single Status Staff

Up to SCP 28

25

30

 

 

 

 

Single Status Staff

SCP 29 to 49

27

32

 

 

 

 

Vale Catering

Up to SCP 28

24

29

 

 

 

 

Ex South Glamorgan Staff

Up to SCP 21

25

30

 

SCP 22 - 25

26

31

 

SCP 26 - 28

28

33

 

SCP 29 - 40

29

34

 

SCP 41 - 49

30

35

 

 

 

 

PROPOSED PROVISIONS

 

 

 

 

Single Status/Green Book

Grade A to F

25

30

 

 

 

 

Single Status/Green Book

Grade G to K

27

32

 

 

 

 

NOTE: the entitlement for part time staff will be on a pro-rata basis

 

34.      Members will note that the above provision will provide a simpler and much clearer approach to annual leave for staff on single status terms and conditions. As can be seen it does retain a differential approach to leave entitlement based on length of service (above/below five years) and also on seniority (above/below grade F).

35.      As indicated the revised structure means an increase in leave entitlement for 157 catering staff by one day per year. For 59 staff on pay grade G (SCP 26 to 31) it will also mean that they will gain access to an additional five days leave (based on seniority) at an earlier point.

36.      For a small number of former South Glamorgan County employees it will however mean a loss of between one and three days annual leave each year.

37.      If a collective agreement is signed in relation to the above it is proposed that the changes take effect from 1st April 2015.  For employees with "birthday" leave years it is proposed that the changes take effect after the 1st April 2015 and starting with the first full year from the date of their birthday.

Calculation of Annual Leave Pay for Term Time only employees

38.      Another area of continuing inconsistency relates to the way in which pay for annual leave entitlement is calculated for employees who are required to work on a term time only basis (usually 39 weeks per year) and are not able to take annual leave in that period.  This relates mainly to staff who are based in or employed by schools.

39.      In most cases payment for the above employees is based on the pro-rata value of the annual leave received by an equivalent full time employee contracted for 52 weeks per year.  In a number of cases, however, term time only employees have continued to receive annual leave pay based on a 52 week contract (rather than the 39 weeks they actually work).

40.      The above arrangement (and subsequent overpayment) has been specific in relation to school based cleaning staff, school crossing patrol assistants, catering staff and midday supervisors.

41.      The trade unions have accepted the principle that this issue needs to be resolved as part of the refinement of the 2011 Single Status Agreement and subject to appropriate consultation with the staff in question.

42.      As part of the same discussions, however, the trade unions have raised concerns about the general method for calculating the pro-rata value of annual leave in the above circumstances.  The current method for the majority of term time only staff is by calculating annual leave and bank holiday as a percentage of that received by a full time employee based on their contracted 52 weeks.

43.      By way of illustration, an employee's paid annual leave entitlement is calculated on the basis of 39 weeks (the term time period for that employee) divided by 52 weeks (the contracted full year period for a full time employee) times a full timer's annual leave and bank holiday entitlement (i.e. 7.6 weeks being 5 weeks annual leave and 8 days bank holiday).  The pro-rata leave entitlement in this case would be 5.68 weeks.

44.      The approach to the above issue does however vary across the 22 Councils in Wales and there is no definitive prescription from the National Employers.  It is the case, however, that the current approach being taken in the Vale is not as favourable as the majority of authorities across Wales.

45.      The application taken by the majority of Councils (and based on guidance available from ACAS) suggests that a potentially better approach would be to base pro-rata annual leave on the comparison of the "worked" weeks between term time and full time employees rather than contracted weeks. 

46.      On the basis of the above an employee's paid annual leave entitlement would be calculated on the basis of 39 weeks (the term time period for that employee) divided by 44.4 weeks i.e. the actual weeks worked by a full time employee (being 52 weeks minus their annual leave and bank holidays) times a full timer's annual leave and bank holiday entitlement (i.e. 7.6 weeks).  The pro-rata leave entitlement in this case would be 6.67 weeks.

47.      Based on the above (and terms of the wider agreement as set out in this report) it is proposed that adjustments to the term time only calculation (as reflected in the principle set out in paragraphs 46 above) be progressed with effect from 1st January 2015.  The trade unions have indicated that they would be content to agree such an extension to the 2011 Single Status Agreement subject to consultation with staff.

48.      There will be some 1869 employees affected by the above proposals; the majority of whom are based in schools. Of those employees some 459 would suffer an average salary reduction of £65 and the remainder an average net gain of £176.  It is proposed to offer protection for those adversely affected up to 31 December 2015.

49.      A table showing the largest groups affected by the above is set out below:

Salary

Reductions to include:

No

%salary loss

Salary

Gains to include:

No

% salary gain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Assistants

88

2.0%

Breakfast Club Staff

200

2.0%

Cooks

43

2.0%

Flying Start Staff

  40

2.0%

Midday Supervisors

272

3.0%

LSA 2

371

2.0%

School Crossing Patrols

25

3.0%

LSA 3

406

2.0%

 

 

 

LSA 4

146

2.0%

 

 

 

School Admin Staff

  40

2.0%

 

50.      There will clearly be savings as a result of rectifying the over-payment issue (in the order of £109K) but costs in relation to changing the calculation for paid annual leave. The overall net costs (including on-costs) will be approximately £300K.

51.      Whilst it is acknowledged that it is not a good time for increasing staffing costs it is suggested that this is an issue which does need resolution in the context of the underpinning principles of the 2011 Single Status agreement.

52.      It is also acknowledged that the greater percentage of the costs of the above will fall on schools at an average cost of £4,800 per school.  It is important therefore that consultation is undertaken during November/December with all school governing bodies and prior to the signing of an extension to the 2011 Collective Agreement.

53.      Members will be aware of the grant funding arrangements for Flying Start employees.  The increase in costs in this area will therefore be charged to the grant.

54.      The terms of a draft collective agreement with the unions are set out in Appendix B.

Removal of telephone allowances

55.      A further area which has been included in the above mentioned prospective collective agreement is the removal of telephone allowances for existing staff.  The arrangement for the payment of such allowances has become largely unnecessary as a result of the proliferation and accessibility of mobile telephone technology.

56.      There are only a small number of examples where this arrangement has persisted. It is proposed that the provision ceases as from 1 April 2015 as part of the extended Single Status agreement. This will achieve savings of approximately £3K per annum.

57.      Members will be aware that mobile phones are available to all staff where there is an underpinning business need.

Other aspects of wider framework agreement

58.      The issues as set out above have been subject to negotiation with the trade unions over the last few months and will involve changes to terms and conditions of employment.  It is for this reason that such a change is being sought through a collective agreement with the recognised trade unions.

59.      There are however a range of other arrangements that are being progressed with the support of the trades unions in order to facilitate change and the increase in employment capacity and flexibility over the coming years.  Although they do not involve changes to employment terms they should be seen in the context of an overall framework agreement with the trade unions.

60.      Such changes are congruent with those set out in the Council's Corporate Workforce Plan and include the following:-

·               the targeted use of voluntary retirement where this is congruent with business needs.

·               the launch of an annual leave purchase scheme for employees.

·               the strengthening of redeployment/outplacement support for staff at risk of
redundancy.

·               the development of a staff engagement strategy to support the "reshaping services"
agenda and help build a new employment contract to meet future service needs.

·               the review and redesign of key policies to meet the needs of our future workforce and including attendance management, performance appraisal and capability.

·               the streamlining of other policies to help focus on performance and deal effectively
(and at greater speed) with conflict and grievance.  It is intended that this will include
the extended use of mediation, the streamlining of the disciplinary procedure and an
increase in resources to deal with complex disciplinary and grievance investigations.

61.      The above issues are being progressed as part of the key work of the Council's Trade Union Change Forum.  Cabinet members will be informed of progress on some of these key work areas as the projects develop.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

62.      The financial implications of the proposed changes in employment terms and conditions are set out in the body of the report.  Members will note that there will be an overall net saving of approximately £63K per annum once the full effects of the prospective collective agreement have been achieved.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

63.      Any reduction in mileage as a result of the proposals in this report will contribute to the Council's sustainability and environmental objectives.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

64.      The proposed changes as outlined in paragraphs 9 to 57 would constitute a change to terms and conditions as imported from a nationally negotiated agreement or implied through custom and practice.  It is for this reason that variation of such terms is initially sought through the means of a collective agreement.

Crime and Disorder Implications

65.      None identified.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

66.      The proposals set out in this report have been subject to an equality impact assessment.

67.      A flat rate allowance and use of pool cars/vehicles would mean that all staff are treated equally – with no distinction between types of users or vehicles.  Any scheme would need to ensure that Blue Badge Holders are not discriminated against and any pool fleet includes provision for necessary adaptations.

68.      The proposed changes to annual leave provisions have a proportionately greater effect on female rather than male employees.  This generally reflects the gender profile of term time only employees. The majority of such employees are positively affected by the change proposals; a situation which will impact positively on the Council's continuing aspirations to reduce the gender pay gap.

Corporate/Service Objectives

69.      The Strategy seeks to support the delivery of service objectives set out in the Corporate Plan 2013/17 and individual service plans.

 Policy Framework and Budget

70.      This report is a matter for the Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

71.      The Trade Unions have been consulted on the issues set out in this report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

72.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer 

Reuben Bergman, Head of Human Resources

Officers Consulted:

Corporate Management Team

Director of Learning and Skills

Employment Lawyer

Operational Manager - Human Resources

 

Responsible Officer:  Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

 

 

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