BEC Meeting Minutes – 19th December 2012




Cath Baggaley, Pete Banks, Noel Bayley, Ruth Carr, Evelyn Doyle, Vimal Gadher, David Hall, Pat McDonagh, John McHugh, Gemma Mcillwaine, Izzy McVicar, Phil Moth, Eddy Redmond, Kevin Shackell, Sonia Stewart, Bernard Sudlow, Mark Tomlinson, Jan Welsby, Guy Whitefield, Rena Wood


Geoff Archibald, Katie Ayre, Steve Campbell, Helen Clarke, Julie Connolly, Alan Kelsey, Steve Lynch, Patrick Taylor, Georgina O’Sullivan

Sonia Stewart in the Chair

1. Chairs Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished them a great Christmas and New Year when the time comes.

2. Minutes of the BEC Meeting held on 28th November

The Minutes were AGREED, with the exception of one amendment – to add Phil Moth to the apologies.

3. Matters Arising

Mortgage deal from Britannia

Noel Bayley reported on a favourable outcome in switching his mortgage to Britannia and was happy to provide details on request if anyone is interested.

Connexions services cuts

The consultation period with management was ongoing on £24.5M cuts to advisers to young people. Mark Tomlinson had received support from the Branch via Rena Wood in the process. Management were asking for people on lower grades to take higher responsibilities and this was being challenged. The rest of the process would be entered into in January 2013 and Mark would report back further.

Customer Contact Centre

Staff were working until 8pm. There had been a lengthy consultation followed by a pilot. However, Unite members were not happy working until 8pm and they had gone on a Work to Rule a couple of weeks ago. The action at Wenlock Way had now ended and the pilot was continuing until September 2013.

4. City Council Budget

There had been a Government announcement this afternoon. Estimates for cuts were £40 – £80M, with there being a high probability of a being £80M.

The Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) package had been agreed and the agreement was based on still seeking no enforced redundancies.

The Council is though as a matter of policy considering compulsory measures if voluntary arrangements do not work.

UNISON officers have submitted a motion on this on the AGM agenda restating our policy of balloting for strike action should this be the case.

A Council Labour Group meeting is to be held in the first week of January 2013. It will take some time to assess what this means for members and services.

The Labour Group will share proposals with the Branch and formally to the wider Council in mid January. There will be an opportunity for early consultation with interested parties for about 2 weeks. This will be followed by more formal consultation, however, what services will look like won’t be known for certain until mid March 2013.

The likely consequences will be that some people go straight away, others are told they can’t go and a large number are put on hold.

The Branch is seeking to avoid the long delays that occurred before. It will not be clear until probably February of where we are up to generally.

The Branch is still keeping the Council committed to continuing restrictions on external recruitment.

Budget updates will be via the Branch website and emails to BEC and stewards/contacts.

Intranet Information:

It was brought to the Branch’s attention during a members meeting at First Street about information on the intranet i.e.

‘….. Completing an application for either VER/VS is a firm commitment on your part that if your application is approved you will accept the offer made under the current schemes and leave the organization on your leaving date’

The statement is one-sided and the wording has been challenged, with the Council being asked to change it.

This has been agreed.

Once new wording is confirmed and an alternative has been agreed it will get changed on the intranet. UNISON was also asking for another part of the statement letter to individuals expressing an interest relating to the scheme to be amended as well. Changes should be done by the end of today.

5. Area Members’ Meetings

Nine members’ meetings have been held across the City and although the first few meetings were not well attended, there was good attendance at others, with members raising questions and issues.

There has been feedback from Surestart members and the Branch is looking at having more meetings from mid January

6. Recruitment

No activities to report at the present time.

7. Equalities

No activities to report at the present time.

8. Labour Link

There is a notice within the AGM papers regarding developing organised contact with members of UNISON Manchester Branch who are members of the Labour Party. The Branch needs to campaign hard on this and ensure we have a strong focused voice in the Party.

9. Financial Report

The Branch has changed the way its accounting is done and has signed up for the national On Line Branch Accounting system (OLBA).

Detailed information will be given at a later date.

10. Disputes

First Street Cycle shed:

It was reported that the lights have not been working at the First Street cycle shed for the past 3 weeks as the supply to the lights had been cut. As a consequence, it was reported two women had stopped cycling to work as they were not happy to go to the cycle shed when it is dark. The matter has since been taken up by the Branch with Health and Safety officers and a request has been made for temporary lights to be put in place. There would hopefully be an update on it this afternoon.

Wenlock Way Building:

There has been a solvent smell in the office, with staff suffering from a bad taste in the mouth, nose bleeds, headaches etc. It had been found that the contractors working on the roof were using an adhesive that was sucked in by the air conditioning. Health and Safety were involved, were not happy with the situation and had gone to the HSE. A full investigation had been called for and Health and Safety are to produce reports.

In addition, as the car park is unlit that is now being gritted.

Police Vetting:

The Branch Secretary has attended a meeting at Mauldeth House where members with CRB checks working in police locations have to undergo an in-house advanced vetting check. It was AGREED to ballot staff there for industrial action if necessary.

11. AGM 28 February 2013

A notice had been sent out regarding the AGM with motions for taking strike action on pay, redundancies, the pay freeze, transfer of the ambulance service to Arriva and information on Labour Party membership. A flyer for Manchester Credit Union was also going out.


There was a reminder regarding pensions updates. Members are to let John McHugh know if they need any information. The fact that the Government is trying to hijack pension firms for risky investments in infrastructure managed by private contractors by the back door was being challenged by UNISON.

Pensions Circular:

There had been agreements on new governance arrangements between the Local Government employers’ side and the Unions. It was suggested this will now be discussed with Government.

A suggestion of a flyer on the issue for people who can then be signposted to where they can get more details will be examined by the Branch further.

An article for the Branch website and a link to the national pensions site are to be done.

12. There being no further business the meeting CLOSED

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