VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on
19th October, 2011.
Present: Councillor J. Clifford
(Mayor); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff,
R.J. Bertin, Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, J.C. Bird, Ms. B.E. Brooks,
Mrs. J.E. Charles, P. Church, G.A. Cox, R.F. Curtis,
C.P.J. Elmore, A.M. Ernest, J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker,
A.D. Hampton, N.P. Hodges, H.J.W. James, T.H. Jarvie, G.
John, F.T. Johnson, G.C. Kemp, Mrs. K.A. Kemp,
Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore, C.L. Osborne, Mrs.
A.J. Preston, Mrs. M. Randall, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe,
J.W. Thomas, R.P. Thomas, R.L. Traherne,
Mrs. D.M. Turner, S.T. Wiliam, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson,
A.C. Williams, C.J. Williams, E.T. Williams,
Miss. S.J.C. Williams, M.R. Wilson and
Ms. M. Wright.
531 APOLOGIES FOR
These were received from Councillors Mrs. P.
Drake, S.C. Egan, Ms. V.L. Ellis,
Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton and Mrs. M. Kelly Owen.
532 DECLARATIONS OF
Councillors J. Clifford, A.M. Ernest, H.J.W.
James, Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore. Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and
C.J. Williams declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 3 on the
basis that members of their families were employed by the Council
and left the meeting during consideration of this item.
(Councillor Mrs. K.A. Kemp, Deputy Mayor, took
the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.)
533 JOB EVALUATION /
EQUAL PAY -
A comprehensive report on the Job Evaluation /
Equal Pay Review was considered by Cabinet on 21st
September, 2011. The report covered the following:
an update on discussions with the recognised Trade Unions following
the "no" vote in the union membership ballot in April 2011 and the
continuing attempts to reach a collective agreement on this
the detail of a number of proposed improvements / refinements to
the draft Single Status / Pay Structure collective agreement as a
result of the above discussions;
the reasons for needing to make progress in implementing a new
"equality proofed" pay structure and the legal, financial and
operational implications of not doing so;
the options available to the Council in pursuing implementation of
the new pay structure and revised terms and conditions of
Copies of the original, and supplementary,
reports to the above meeting had been circulated with the updated
report which was before Council. The earlier reports had been
submitted as Part II information in view of the sensitivity of
discussions with the Trade Unions and the implementation
options. As all three Trade Unions had now agreed to
recommend the revised proposals and a further Trade Union ballot,
with a view to seeking a collective agreement, the latest report
(together with the earlier information) had now been submitted as a
Part I item.
On 21st September 2011, Cabinet had
agreed proposed improvements to the original draft collective
agreement (as a basis for recommendation to Council), together with
additional proposed improvements to Saturday working
arrangements. These improvements had been agreed as a basis
for a possible further ballot. However, Cabinet had also
recommended that this was subject to a clear assurance that the
Trade Unions would support and recommend the revisions and hold a
ballot by the end of November; the overall aim being to reach a
collective agreement by the end of December 2011. Finally,
Cabinet had resolved that, should the above assurances not be
received, Council take steps to implement revised terms through a
process of direct implementation.
The above issues were subsequently considered
and endorsed at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Scrutiny Committee
(Corporate Resources) on 3rd October, 2011.
A summary of the overall effects of the
proposals had been set out in paragraphs 20 and 21 of the report to
Cabinet on 21st September 2011. An updated summary
was submitted to Council.
The report referred to a minor correction to
the proposed change in the pay structure grade line between Salary
Band B and C as set out at paragraph 16 of the report to Cabinet on
21st September 2011. The change was erroneously quoted as being
from 294 to 290 points. This should have been from 294 to 289
The revised draft collective agreement also
included an updated job evaluation appeals procedure which would
apply in the event of a collective agreement being achieved.
The procedure was designed to deal with all concerns,
grievances and appeals in relation to the job evaluation exercise
and assimilation to the new / revised pay structure.
The Trade Unions had helpfully sought the
views of their respective branch committees on the prospect of a
re-ballot with a view to reaching a collective agreement. An
assurance had now been received indicating the intention of all
three Trade Unions to re-ballot their members and, crucially, to
recommend that they vote in favour of the revised proposals.
This would be supported by both regional and local
representatives of the Trade Unions concerned.
In introducing the report, the Cabinet Member
(Human Resources and Equalities) referred to it as representing a
realistic hope of resolution of this long running and difficult
issue before the end of the current financial year
She reminded Members of the draft Single
Status package agreed by Council on 28th February, 2011
as a basis for a ballot of Trade Union members. The proposals
at that time set out plans for a new, modernised and
equality-proofed pay structure for over 4,500 staff across all
areas of the Council.
Unfortunately, it had not been possible to
implement the proposals as a result of a marginal “no” vote in the
ballot and the consequent failure to reach a collective
Since that point there had been a lot of joint
work undertaken by officers and the recognised Trade Unions in
order to learn from the feedback from the ballot process, make
appropriate changes to the proposals and continue to strive for a
collective agreement on this issue.
The resulting revised proposals were set out
in Appendix 4 to the report before Council. They sought to respond
appropriately to the concerns as raised by the Trade Unions without
compromising the underpinning principles of the exercise. The
proposals represented improvements to the original scheme and would
increase the percentage of those positively affected from 32% to
45% and reduce the percentage of employees adversely affected from
18% to 15%
The Cabinet Member indicated that the full
implications of the revised proposals were set out in paragraphs 11
to 15 of the report. Members had been given the opportunity
of attending a briefing session on the work undertaken since April
of this year and the implications of the revised proposals.
All three recognised Trade Unions had now
indicated their intention to recommend acceptance of the revised
proposals in a further ballot to be held at the end of November.
Whilst not meeting all of the Trade Unions’ aspirations, they
recognised that genuine improvements had been made and that the
revised package was the best achievable through negotiation.
The result of the further ballot would be known before Christmas
and, should a “yes” vote be achieved, the Council would be in a
position of implementing the Single Status Agreement with effect
from 1st March 2012.
The Cabinet Member referred to this as
encouraging news and a reflection of the constructive nature of the
consultations with the Trade Unions. She considered it
important to continue to stress the importance of this process and
the legal, financial and operational imperative of introducing the
new pay structure as soon as possible. She pointed out that
the Council did not have an option of retaining its current pay
arrangements or exposing itself to further delay on this issue.
She felt the revised proposals and the support
of the Trade Unions to provide a real opportunity to seek
resolution of the issue, respond positively to the long-running
threat of equal pay and implement a new, fair and “fit for purpose”
pay structure. She thanked the Trade Unions and officers for
their hard work and effort and moved the recommendations in the
report, with them being duly seconded.
The encouraging prospect of implementation
through a collective agreement within the financial year needed to
be balanced against the potential risks of a second "no" vote in a
further Trade Union ballot and the inevitable and consequent delay.
In the event of a further "no" vote it would be
important that the Council was able to quickly revisit both the
components of the Single Status / Pay Structure package and the
options for implementation. Such a review would be necessary in the
context of the inevitable challenges of the 2012/2013 budget
planning process and the need to seek a final and financially
sustainable resolution of this issue.
Councillor Ms. Alexander asked what would
happen in the event of a further “no” vote. The Cabinet
Member referred to the clear implications of further continued
delay in terms of reaching a collective agreement and resolving
equal pay issues. Should this occur, it would be necessary
for the matter to be referred back to Council in order to consider
the need to resolve the issue via direct implementation. She
referred to there being no realistic expectation from either the
Council or the Trade Unions as to there being any room for further
negotiation and to the Trade Unions’ view that the proposals
currently offered were the best achievable through
Councillor Elmore asked for confirmation that
all three Trade Unions were supporting a “yes” vote. The
Cabinet Member confirmed that this was the case.
Councillor John, despite having reservations
regarding the original proposals, felt the revised proposals
illustrated the significant amount of work undertaken by officers
and the Trade Unions. He indicated that the Independent Group
would support the recommendations.
Councillor Mrs. Randall reiterated Councillor
John’s comments and also indicated the support of the Plaid Cymru
Councillor Johnson referred to a general
improvement in what was now on offer. He asked how many
schools had, to date, opted in to the exercise. In response,
the Leader indicated his understanding was that some 40 schools had
already agreed to do so and verbal assurances had been received
from all but one of the other schools.
Upon being put to the vote it was
(1) T H A
T the reports as considered by Cabinet on
21st September and the specific recommendations to
Council as set out in resolutions (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9),
(10) and (11) of Cabinet Minute No. C1445 be noted.
(2) T H A
T Cabinet Minute No. C1445(4), i.e. the changes to the Single
Status / Pay Structure proposals, together with Minute No.
C1445(5), i.e. the amendment to the unsocial hours working matrix
(as updated by the detail in paragraphs 11 -15 of the report to
Council) be approved; all the revisions having now been
incorporated into the redrafted draft collective agreement attached
as Appendix 4 to the report to Council.
(3) T H A
T Cabinet Minute No.C1445(6), i.e. the approval of the revised
terms (as in Cabinet Minute No.C1445(4) and (5) above) as a basis
for a further Trade Union ballot with a view to reaching a
collective agreement, be approved, on the basis that the necessary
assurances have now been received from the recognised Trade Unions
i.e. that they are prepared to support and recommend the revised
proposals to their members in a ballot to be held in November 2011
and with a view to reaching a collective agreement before the end
of December 2011.
(4) T H A
T Cabinet Minute No. C1445(7)(a) to (e) and (10) be now held in
abeyance in the light of the above assurances and the hope that a
collective agreement can be reached on the Single Status / Pay
Structure proposals before the end of December 2011.
(5) T H A
T Cabinet Minute No. C1445(8), (9) and (11) be approved in
anticipation of a collective agreement being reached with the
recognised Trade Unions in relation to the Single Status / Pay
(6) T H A
T in the circumstance that a collective agreement is not reached
before the end of December 2011, the matter be referred back to a
further meeting of Full Council; such a referral to be made
in order to revisit the Single Status / Pay Structure proposals in
the context of the 2012/13 budget deliberations and to determine
the options for implementation.