The current position regarding voluntary redundancy within Cheshire East Council.01/08/2012
The current position regarding voluntary redundancy within Cheshire East Council.
In light of the changes that will come into force on the 20th August 2012.
The Trade Union were informed of the Council's intention to amend the Voluntary Redundancy scheme from a (2x) scheme to a (1.8x) scheme on Thursday 31st May 2012 (as highlighted below).
Cheshire East Council is currently reviewing the Voluntary Redundancy package to ensure that it is still affordable and fit for purpose.
The decision-making process for this review means that Cabinet undertake the initial consideration and then makes a recommendation to full Council with regard to future arrangements.
Cabinet undertook their review at their meeting on 28th May and as part of that, gave consideration to the views of the Joint Trade Unions, which were referred to within the body of the report and attached as an appendix.
The outcome of this was that Cabinet recommended to Council that, with effect from 20th August 2012, a multiplier of 1.80 times will be applied to the number of weeks pay to which an employee is entitled according to the statutory ready reckoner.
The maximum number of weeks that will be payable will be 50 and the “week’s pay” will continue to be the actual week’s pay and not the statutory week’s pay.
As part of which it will also be recommended that this package will be reviewed again in 12 months time.
Finally Cabinet recommended to Council, that it extends the application of its discretions in relation to retirements on the grounds of efficiency so that it can provide up to the same upper limit as the VR scheme, which would be up to 50 weeks should Council agree the various recommendations.
Full Council considered the above recommendations at it's meeting on the 19th July 2012, and formally adopted the changes which will come into effect on the 20th August 2012.
The original enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme was introduced in October 2008, as a result of the Local Government Review across Cheshire, as set out in the Local Government Act, however the specific terms of the scheme were subject to each Authority Cabinet Approval, so each authority ie Cheshire East and West Cheshire & Chester have different schemes.
The Cheshire East scheme was initially introduced for an 18 month period, to cover the period up to vesting day to cover legacy authorities management structures which were being disbanded and for the first 12 months of the new Cheshire East Council's existence, to enable the restructures within the new services to take place and displaced employees to be entitled to enhanced terms for a specific period.
During the Summer of 2009, discussion took place with the recognised Trade Unions and Cheshire East initially stated that the scheme was coming to an end in October 2009. Following pressure from Unison on Councillors and Management Team, Cheshire East recognised that it would be grossly unfair for those employees who had been subject to early displacement due to restructure to receive an enhancement, whereas many services still remained to be restructured and these employees faced receiving less favourable termination terms and condition.
It was therefore agreed that the scheme would be reviewed and amended accordingly to suit service requirements on a 6 month basis by Cheshire East Council Cabinet, this resulted in changes being made to Compromise Agreements, the legally binding document used by the Council when agreeing mutual termination.
Subsequently changes were made by Cabinet to the Voluntary Redundancy Enhanced Scheme at each six month stage to tighten up the scheme, which had the effect of making the scheme less attractive to employees as time progressed and significant numbers of employees had left the authority, these
changes included amongst other changes.
• no longer paying notice, in line with other authorities,
• no longer paying outstanding annual leave, instead encouraging employees to take annual leave entitlement before their termination date, etc.
The revised Compromise Agreements have always been subject to counter signing of the Agreement by a legal representative, before they become a legally binding agreement. Unison have always used Thompsons Solicitors to fully explain the Compromise Agreement to individual Unison Members before signing of the agreement takes place, this explains all the clauses in the agreement in detail and what each clause means to the employee.
The voluntary redundancy scheme has always been subject to change since October 2009, hence the reason Paul Bradshaw (Head of HR) wrote to the Trade Unions on the 31st May 2012 highlighting the proposed changes being considered this year. Until it receives formal approval from both Cabinet and Full Council in late July 2012, it is still subject to change, hence the final scheme changes do not come into effect until 20th August 2012.
I have continued to update Branch Committee on a monthly basis at each stage to make sure that Unison representatives are fully engaged in the process.
Unison Branch Secretary
Cheshire East Unison