Trade Union Side recently met with the CEO and Directors following a meeting with Councillors in early December.
The Council put forward this message to Councillors:
In order to avoid the imposition of significant rates increases next year on local residents and businesses who are already experiencing financial difficulties, as a result of the anticipated economic crisis arising from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Council had reluctantly agreed to introduce a package of measures to reduce expenditure next year which included spend on capital projects and other revenue and staffing costs.
The process of working through the reduction in staff costs commenced in July and the Council initiated a process of offering voluntary severance to employees.
Having continued to work jointly with the Trade Unions over recent months, the Council has identified a number of suitable vacancies and redeployment opportunities for employees affected by the proposed staff cost reductions.
As a result of this, the Council is now confident that through a process of redeployment, it can avoid the need for any compulsory redundancies.
The significant Trade Union contribution throughout this entire process has been recognised and appreciated by the Council during these unprecedented and challenging times.
The Councillors agreed to open up the “Amber” vacancies list (those who have requested VR but are not in an “at risk” position). This will open up 40 vacancies for those who were “provisionally selected for redundancy”, meaning that there are more vacancies than people at risk and should result in avoiding compulsory redundancy.
However, for this to work, the redeployment process still needs to continue and a restructuring will be put in place. NIPSA members who were provisionally selected for redundancy following the application of the matrix or new job descriptions/change in role. Those going through this process, will continue to do so, with more positions available for redeployment.
The Council aim to redeploy staff at the same grade. However, if staff find themselves accepting a redeployment at a lower grade, the TUS have requested pay protection. The details of pay protection have not yet been agreed, but it is understood tapered protection will apply. If you accept redeployment in another area, travel expenses will also be covered for a period of time.
More information is expected to come from the Council directly to staff over the next couple of days, but understandably, those who continue through the redeployment process will have questions. Local Reps are going through an information session on Thursday and will have more advice for members following this meeting.
NIPSA are hopeful that through this process, all compulsory redundancies can be avoided.