I wanted to drop you a quick note on some of the issues TUS are dealing with at the moment.

Staff Recognition: For the last 12 months, TUS have been pushing for better recognition of all staff efforts over the last 12 months and we met recently with management on this. TUS made a number of proposals that are currently being considered. Management have confirmed that they are developing a business case on options and hope to have a response with TUS very shortly.

Recruitment: TUS have continued to engage management on the need for additional staff to fill vacant posts and increase resources to cope with increased workloads. Funding for around 100 posts has been identified that will allow for recruitment of AO and EOII grades in UC. We understand that work is ongoing to dramatically increase recruitment but this will be based upon what funding is provided by DoF as part of the 2021/22 budget allocation. Discussions are also ongoing with NICSHR on further EOII and EOI competitions but this may take some time. Work is also ongoing to deal with oversupply issues in the Benefit Processing centres in Andersonstown and Holywood Rd offices.

Staff Bonus Scheme: NIPSA has a longstanding policy against the staff bonus scheme seeking to have the 0.2% allocated to it redirected as pay for all staff. A decision has been made by management to remove the staff bonus scheme from April 2021 but management have refused to transfer this money into the pay-bill but rather will instead use it as a budgetary saving. NIPSA is opposed to this decision.

Blended Working: TUS have considered that blended working is a post-Covid arrangement and at odds with NI Executive advice. Dept TUS have written to senior management seeking a departmental-wide policy on blended working to ensure consistency across DfC. We have been informed that work is ongoing on this and we will be engaging senior management shortly on this. UC TUS have a meeting on 16 April 2020 with UC management to discuss how blended working may work across UC. It is the view of TUS that each member and their line manager should meet and discuss the needs of the role to ensure business delivery but also the preferences of the member to attend the workplace or work from home or a mixture of both. We do not believe bringing in a rota that limits options for everyone as fair and members must have a say in what blended working looks like.

Reopening Public Offices for Vulnerable Customers – As part of a planning process to re-open public offices when advice allows, TUS are meeting with management soon to discuss how vulnerable customers can be provided for through face-to-face engagement. TUS are clear that any reopening of public offices must be safe, in line with medical advice and introduced on a phased basis. Further information will be provided following our meeting.

Any questions, please contact your local rep or seconded officer.

Dooley Harte
Assistant Secretary