Branch Secretary Report 2012
It is very difficult to give the full picture of all the activities that the branch and the officers have been involved in over the last 12 months. I will try to cover all the major issues that we have dealt with on behalf of the membership in this report.
Of the 1,416 members who called in looking for assistance 677 were allocated an officer to support them, with the remainder having there queries dealt with at point of contact. For those that required support the issues covered disciplinary, FTAW, attendance management, Health and safety and many more.
This past year has seen restructures in all areas of the organisation. This has resulted in a much reduced workforce, with the lowest paid being hit hard by cuts to contracts in areas such as Catering and Cleaning.
In the period 2010/2011 our workforce reduced by 1,514 through various mechanisms including, the ending of temporary contracts, retirals, voluntary retirement/redundancy etc.
UNISON Fife have been involved with every review across the council, ensuring transparency in the procedures adopted.
Last year saw the council decide to try and out-source residential care homes, this did not come to fruition as the procurement process failed to find suitable providers. UNISON were pivotal in the campaign to retain these in public sector control. We cannot rest on our laurels though and we know that Social Work are currently working on another area of the service, which could potentially see the outsourcing of the Accommodation with Care and Housing Support Service. This would impact on approximately 200 staff within this service.
Education Services restructured support staff both within High Schools and the Primary School sector. This saw a reduction in support provided within schools, the result of which is only now becoming apparent. We have asked the Executive Director for Education for a review to be undertaken in areas where difficulties have been exposed.
Due to the retirement of one Executive Director the number of directorates will reduce by 1. Housing and Communities will merge with Environment and Development.
Police Staff saw their workforce reduce by 48 all of which exited through the Notice of Interest process. UNISON’s input through discussions with Fife Constabulary saw the employer offer a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for this coming financial year.
The office rationalisation programme saw the opening of Bankhead with the first group of staff in place from late last year. This facility will see Transportation, Property Services, Building Services and others working from the one location.
April 2011 saw the Branch organise a March and Rally against the cuts to our services. The event was well attended and brought the issues we have and will continue to face to the streets of Kirkcaldy.
One of our biggest achievements this year was the day of action on November 30 to protect our pensions. Due to the massive support from UNISON members the Government was forced back to the negotiating table.
In the Branch there have been a number of changes, we saw Carol return from maternity leave and after 27 years of dedicated service to UNISON Fife members we said a happy retirement to Linda Erskine. Whilst Linda will be missed by all, the work of the Branch continues, the knowledge and experience of officers will ensure that the level of support is maintained.
WHATS IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE
THIS YEAR SAW A BETTER BUDGET SETTLEMENT THAN EXPECTED FOR FIFE BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAN WE CAN REST EASY. THE FOLLOWING FEW YEARS WILL BE HARDER THAN ANY WE’VE EVER SEEN. UNISON WILL CONTINUE TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANY TYPE OF OUTSOURCING OF OUR SERVICES TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
AS THE LARGEST TRADE UNION IN FIFE WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE BIGGEST VOICE AGAINST THE REDUCTION OF POSTS AND SERVICES.
AS FINANCES ARE SQUEEZED FURTHER WE NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THE CHALLENGES THAT LAY AHEAD OF US. WE CAN RULE NOTHING OUT AND IM SURE THAT AT SOME POINT EMPLOYERS WILL LOOK TO OPEN TALKS ON OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
OUR ACTIVISTS WILL BE BUSY AS THESE CHALLENGES MATERIALISE. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE PULL TOGETHER AS A GROUP OF OVER 8000 MEMBERS AND WOULD WELCOME ANYONE THAT WISHES TO BECOME MORE ACTIVE.