Consultation Meetings - Sheffield City Council Formal Proposals For Revised Pay

11 Mar 2014

GMB members rejected the last pay proposal that Sheffield City Council put to the trade unions before Christmas 2013. Since then we have been involved in intensive negotiations with the Council and they have now submitted their final proposal for a new pay settlement and this proposal covers the next 4 years.
We believe that this latest offer represents a significant improvement from the last proposal. You will recall that the previous offer meant that all workers would go to the mid point of their incremental grades over a 3 year period. A move up the scales for some but a massive loss for others and no one would ever reach the higher levels of incremental payments because they would no longer exist. In short this was a lose-lose situation for everyone and represented a much bigger detriment than this new proposal.
There have been proposals since and counter-proposals from at least one of the other unions. No matter how we cut it though they all amount to a detriment for workers who earn more than £21,000. This latest offer enables all employees who are entitled to an increment (frozen for the past 4 to 5 years) to progress for the first time in a long time and breaks the increment pay freeze. Furthermore the offer protects the lowest paid employees, gives them a lump sum payment and secures on-going commitment to the living wage (rising to £7.65 in April 2014). We have also secured agreement that any offer coming out of the national local government negotiating body will also be paid to all.
There is a sacrifice for workers on more than £21,000 in year 2 (2015/16) and that is taken from 3 days unpaid leave at Christmas, to be spread over the entire years salary. There will be some exemptions and these will be negotiated through the trade union consultation framework.

We have attached the full offer and a ballot form and we have arranged another consultation meeting at the Library theatre in the City Centre.  Paid release for members to attend has been secured. Please also contact your conveners if you can’t make this meeting and would prefer a work-place consultation meeting instead.
GMB Member consultation meetings:

19th March 12:00 – 1:00pm and 5:00 – 6:00pm (Library Theatre, Surrey Street, S1 1XZ)

Council Offer:

START……..
SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL FORMAL PROPOSALS FOR REVISED PAY ARRANGEMENTS

Background:
These formal proposals set out below incorporate the changes made to the original proposals as a result of consultation with our recognised Trade Unions.
They are based on feedback and input from the joint trade unions over a period of consultation since September 2013.
This proposal has been subject to detailed costing and checking by Finance colleagues to ensure affordability.
Scope of the proposed changes
The proposed scope of the revised proposals excludes former Sheffield Homes employees, Public Health employees, and non-teaching Schools employees. A business case for this decision has been shared with the Trade Unions, the Council in principle wished to include all SCC employees in scope but has been unable to do so due to legal advice in relation to TUPE protection.
The workforce to whom this proposal applies is:
• Local Government Services
• Chief Officers
• Craft

• There are separate proposals in respect of Soulbury staff.


Principles:
In addition to the principles previously shared with the trade unions (appendix 1) the following additional principles will apply to this proposal:
• Incremental progression will be kept in the system for the period of this agreement
• The Council wishes to proceed on the basis of a 4 year deal
• The Council wishes to create a level of certainty in relation to pay and terms and conditions for staff
• The proposal needs to be affordable, not just in the 4 year period but in the longer term
• There will be no detriment to pay in year 1 for any employee as a result of this proposal.
The Council believes that although this proposal is limited to a period of 4 years it creates a level of stability for employees both in relation to pay and terms and conditions. The rationale we have applied in proposing a maximum of a 4 year deal is that there continues to be uncertainty in relation to local government finances, therefore it is prudent to make a proposal that we are confident we can afford and deliver.  The Council is committed to starting early discussions about year 5 when there is more clarity about the financial position of the Council.
New arrangements for Incremental progression

Employees who are on a pay grade normally progress automatically by one Spinal Column Point (SCP) within their pay grade each year. His/her salary would normally progress by one SCP until they reach the top of his/her grade.  The increase in salary associated with this is commonly referred to as an ‘incremental pay increase’.  The progression in SCP and associated salary increase normally takes effect in April each year.
It is proposed that there will be a freeze in incremental progression in 2014/15 for all employees in scope of this proposal. Employees who earn less than £21,000 (pro-rata) will receive a one off annual payment of £250 in 2014/15.( this payment will also be pro rata) This payment will be calculated in September for payment in December 2014. For absolute clarity, this payment will not be made to any employee whose basic pay is on spinal point 24 and above.

In 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 it is proposed to pay to all entitled employees half the value of an increment. No half increment will have a value of less than £250 ( pro rata). This process would entail determining new local (Sheffield City Council) interim pay points for the grades.

Annual leave proposal

To enable the Council to afford this proposal all employees who earn over £21,000 will take 3 days mandatory unpaid annual leave at the Christmas break between Christmas and New Year in these three years. This will be in addition to current leave entitlements and will not represent a break in service. It will be on a pro rata basis and will be applied to all employees on spinal point 24 and above.

Three days mandatory annual leave will also be taken at the Christmas break for all other employees this includes Sheffield Homes, Soulbury and Public Health. This will pro rata basis.

For these groups of staff and for employees who earn less than £21,000 this will be taken out of their usual annual leave entitlement and the Council will shut down all but essential services. These essential service exemptions will be agreed with Executive Directors at EMT.

The three days Christmas shutdown will not attract enhancements for employees who are expected to work as they are not statutory holidays.

All employees will be able to access the Councils salary sacrifice scheme for annual leave over and above these mandatory arrangements. 

The Council is reviewing the HMRC rules which govern salary sacrifice schemes particularly in relation to mandatory unpaid leave and is also taking advice on pension impacts of the unpaid leave elements of this proposal, these impacts are therefore subject to further clarification. 

Employees who have requested voluntary annual leave under the Council’s salary sacrifice scheme may amend the amount of voluntary leave they wish to take to take account of the requirement to take mandatory annual leave.

Deductions from pay would be made on a monthly basis for all employees.

Terms and Conditions
There are no proposals to make any changes to wider terms and conditions for Sheffield City Council employees, the Council however wishes to continue discussions on the cost and management of enhancements for atypical working patterns The Council is prepared on the successful outcome of this consultation to commit to no further local changes to terms and conditions for 4 years from the date of any collective agreement, other than those required by law or those that are agreed as part of National agreements. 
Living wage supplement

We propose to continue payment of the Living Wage pay supplement to basic pay for those employees on our lowest pay scales.  From 1 April 2014 we will increase our Living Wage level to £7.65 an hour, which is equivalent to a full time salary of £14,759 per year. 
National pay awards

This change to the employee’s terms and conditions will not affect any entitlement to any additional pay award which is determined each year by the relevant national negotiating body. National pay awards will still be applied so everyone within scope and eligible would receive this, unless protected by red-circling arrangements.


Flexible working/flexi schemes
It is proposed that a separate work stream is formed with the recognised Trade Unions and service leaders to agree a common and consistently applied flexible working scheme.

Learning and Development
It is proposed that a joint work stream is established to progress the implementation of a skills and attainments framework and to explore the possibilities for accessing personal development through a salary sacrifice scheme.

Voluntary Schemes
We have offered a range of voluntary schemes for the past three years, which have made a significant impact not only on achieving budgetary savings but also in maintaining employee morale in very difficult and challenging circumstances.

It is proposed that the ranges of options available are increased to include:
o Car parking salary sacrifice
o Shared cost AVCs
o Further promotion of child care vouchers under salary sacrifice
o Work-related training costs
o Green cars

This document represents the final formal proposal as agreed with the joint trade unions on February 20th
Julie Toner
Director of Human Resources
24 February2014
END……………………………..

A ballot form is attached and given the reasons that have been set out above we believe that this offer represents an improvement for the vast majority of our members. It is the best that we believe can be achieved through the current negotiations and in the current economic environment. It is for that reason that we must recommend acceptance.
If the offer is accepted we will sign a collective agreement with the Council. If the offer is rejected we will ask the Council to withdraw it and in the event that they refuse or do not table an improved offer, we will ballot for industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike action.
Regards
Peter Davies
(GMB Organiser)
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