Prospect NRPB Branch J027

Minutes of Annual Delegates Conference,

Chilton, 11 January 2005, 9:30 am - JG05/06

Present: Andy Carey President

Antony Bexon Branch Secretary

Fero Ibrahimi Minutes Secretary

David Hart Superannuation Representative

Alex Pinnock Equal Opportunities Representative

Raj Bunger Chilton Section Delegate

Sue Hodgson Chilton Section Delegate

Christine Kowalczuk Chilton Section Delegate

Alison Jones Info Officer, Membership Sec & Chilton Section Delegate

Peter Pellow Chilton Section Delegate

Keith Bulloch Glasgow Section Delegate

Lorna Mitchell Glasgow Section Delegate

Julian Dunderdale Leeds Section Delegate

Simon Jakes Leeds Section Delegate

Ruth Lofts Leeds Section Delegate

1. Apologies for Absence

Margaret Erskine, Martyn Green, Mark Hillier, Phil Gilvin

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous ADC, held on the 15th January 2004, were approved as a true record.

  1. Matters Arising

None

4. President's Report

Andy presented his report verbally. There would be some changes to the Branch posts. The position of Vice-President has been vacant for some time. Martyn Green has kindly volunteered for the position. Also, Alex Pinnock would be leaving the Branch soon as she is changing employer. Andy thanked her for her hard work. Katie Davis had kindly volunteered to replace her as Equal Opportunities Representative. Andy thanked Liz Francis and Margaret Erskine for their hard work on behalf of TU Side. He also thanked Bob King for his continued help.

The Department of Health (DH) now directly defines the pay remit for NRPB, and for 2004 the pay award was delayed until December 2004. TU would do all it could do ensure the 2005 pay award would not be delayed, but although NRPB management submitted their remit to the DH well within time, there was little TU or management could do to speed up the process. A TUPE Transfer Committee has been established to cover the NRPB merger into the HPA.

In the past, negotiations with NRPB management have in general proceeded well. In the future, TU Side will have to deal with the HPA via the National Joint Staff Committee (NJSC). Margaret Erskine, Alison Jones, Martin Whild (PCS) and Bob King (Prospect professional) are representing TU Side on the NJSC. TU Side has recently become a full member of the NJSC.

Other areas of future work are likely to include the Arms Length Bodies Review and pension arrangements. With regard to pensions, it is likely that arrangements will go towards an increase in retirement age and a possible move towards an average salary as opposed to the current final salary scheme.

Membership action and support to resist Management changes to the Flexi Working Scheme have been successful, with all proposed changes being dropped.

The report was accepted and carried unanimously.

5. Prospect HQ Officer's Report

Bob King did not attend.

Action ADC Jan 2005.1 - Andy request Bob King submit his report in writing for the next ADC or verbally at a future Branch Committee Meeting.

Bob King submitted a written note on 17 January 2005, which is attached as an appendix to these Minutes.

6. Treasurer's Report

In Mark's absence, Antony distributed the 2004 Annual Statement of Accounts and the Treasurer's Report 2004 from Mark (see report appended to these minutes). In the Report, Mark reminds union members that the main expenditures for 2004, were as usual, travelling costs. Mark reminded members that if possible, they should try to co-ordinate union-related travel with Board-related meetings or visits and also to ensure expense claims are supported by receipts. Funds for next year may not be adequate if HPA merger causes more union meetings to be required. Andy confirmed that if necessary Branch would ask HQ for more funds but that was not necessary immediately.

The report was accepted and carried unanimously.

7. Section Motions

The proposed Chilton Section motion is attached. There were no motions were received from, Glasgow or Leeds, however an emergency motion was received from Branch.

Motion proposed by Branch

“This Branch proposes a change to our Branch constitution to enable our new position within the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to be recognised. This will need to ensure that we not only include all existing NRPB staff and new staff within the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Chilton and Leeds and Glasgow Sections, but can also represent ex-NRPB staff who will fall under other HPA management structures from 1 April 2005.”

Purpose: the current Prospect Branch constitution describes the union as representing members from the NRPB. The constitution describes the NRPB, and so under the current constitution, the Branch would not be able to represent NRPB staff seconded to the HPA or whose work area will fall under an HPA management chain. If the motion was successful, an amendment to the constitution would be sent to the Sections and Prospect HQ for approval.

Peter queried whether the current Branch represented ex-NRPB employees and retirees. Alison commented that there was a specific Branch of Prospect to represent retirees, so the answer was no.

Fero queried that in a previous Branch Committee Meeting, Margaret had reported that Amicus at the NJSC had informed her of their view that they consider NRPB a source for new members. Fero queried whether the motion should not be widened to include all of HPA rather than just the new Division and ex-NRPB staff. Andy commented that it could lead to Prospect members being out-numbered but he would look at the constitution amendment carefully. Christine commented that it would be better to not open up the Branch wider as that would make it more difficult to protect the rights of members under TUPE. The consensus appeared to be that the current motion was adequate for now and that the Branch could widen membership later.

The motion was carried 9 to 1.

Motion proposed by Chilton Section

“This Section is concerned at the possibility that, under HPA, moves will be made to increase full-time conditioned hours and that this will be done without a pro rata increase in pay (and pay minima/maxima). We should establish our negotiating position on this at an early stage, considering both full-and part-time workers.”

The motion had been proposed by Peter. It was noted that TUPE rights exist for current NRPB employees until Terms & Conditions are re-negotiated. It was confirmed that new recruits employed before 01 April 2005 will join on current NRPB Terms & Conditions but that after 01 April 2005 they are likely to join on HPA Terms & Conditions. HPA are proposing a working week across the workplaces of 37.5 hours. An increase in working hours from 35 to 37.5 hours represents an increase in time worked of 7%. Andy confirmed that in such a case TU Side would have an opening negotiation position of an increase in salary pro-rata of 7% (on top of annual cost of living raises, etc).

Christine noted that the HPA Agenda for Change had a default position for part-time workers of increasing their hours worked pro-rata rather than reducing their salary pro-rata. Christine wondered if it might be better for NRPB part-time members to reduce their hours worked now, so that the hours worked would go up to the `right' amount in future. Andy noted that forcing workers to work more hours was not possible particularly if there had been no agreement with TU Side to change Terms & Conditions. If the NJSC tried to push changes onto NRPB, then Branch would arrange a ballot of members to discuss such changes.

Sue commented that HPA are working with different parts having different Terms & Conditions now anyway, implying that another different set (NRPB) of Terms & Conditions would not make a significant difference overall to the HPA. Andy confirmed that any changes to Terms & Conditions for members are to be negotiated collectively under the TUPE Transfer Committee (TTC). Changes would be brought to the attention of members first so they would be kept fully informed before final agreement with management. Andy confirmed that any member who as an individual is asked to sign new Terms & Conditions (after 01 April 2005), eg perhaps after a promotion, should NOT sign them and bring them to the attention of Branch. Branch will then arrange for the Prospect professional, Bob King, to comment on them.

The motion was carried unanimously.

8. Election of Branch Officers for 2005

The following officers were nominated for election:

Andy Carey President

Martyn Green Vice-President

Antony Bexon Branch Secretary

Mark Hillier Treasurer

Alison Jones Membership Sec, Information Officer and Safety Rep

Fero Ibrahimi Minutes Secretary

Dave Hart Superannuation Representative

Katie Davies Equal Opportunities Representative

The officers were all elected unanimously.

9. AOB

None

Fero Ibrahimi

Appendix 1 - Treasurer's Report 2004

Apologies once again for not being here but once more this meeting coincides with my post-Christmas break. May I first say to anyone who thinks that they may have heard some of this somewhere before, Yes, this text has an uncanny resemblance to last years report.

This year the branch expenses comprised entirely of the costs of getting representatives from Leeds and Glasgow to Chilton. Thus the only way we can control our budget is to continue what we have been doing in past years and that is monitor travel costs. Please consider the most cost-effective means of travelling to and from Chilton. Better still combine your union business with Board work, that way NRPB pay part if not all of the travel costs.

The total cost of running the branch has actually fallen by almost 30%. Thus, despite reductions in our budget allocation from Prospect over the past years, I am glad to report that the Branch has operated within its 2004 budget. Well done everyone.

Whilst it is our intention to continue in this manner we also have a responsibility to represent our members properly and I along with the Chairman and Secretary have a duty to see that the Branch has sufficient funds to do this. Thus if needs become such I shall stop playing `Scrooge' and take on the role of `Oliver Twist' so I can ask Prospect for some more funds.

Please remember that Prospect will only allow the branch to reimburse reasonable expenditure claims when supported by a receipt. On at least one occasion a representative submitted a claim for a meal without a receipt. Unfortunately I was only able to pay the ex gratia meal allowance which meant that the representative lost out.

Now, I have one new and serious point to make. Some of you submit credit and debit card receipts to support your expense claims. Please continue to do this but be aware that some receipts include your full card number and given that you are also sending your home address. This could compromise the security of your account should this information fall into unscrupulous hands. I suggest therefore, that before sending any card receipts, you first cross out any account numbers that are shown.

If anyone has any unanswered questions, I am back on 18th of January please contact me then when I shall be happy to answer them.

Mark Hillier 5th January 2005

Appendix 2 - Note from Prospect Professional

Dear Colleagues

Firstly my apologies for being unable to attend your ADC. I was waylaid with an issue at another company on the Harwell site.

2004 was a year of imminent change for NRPB. The merger with HPA was at the forefront of everything we did and this situation will remain well past April 2005. The situation is both complex and concerning, however, I am confident that the Prospect representatives you have within the branch have a level of belief and professionalism more than equal to the task ahead.

The support we have received from the membership, the level of the relationship with the employer and the detail with which every issue is addressed bears testament to this fact. Of all the branches under my remit as a Prospect Negotiator I can safely say that NRPB is far and away the best organised.

But this organisation is not enough. The support of the current membership is admirable and the faith shown in Prospect lay representatives is deserved, but we must continue to ensure that the voice of staff is heard and this has never been more true than with the coming merger.

Prospect enjoys a high level of membership within NRPB and our colleagues in PCS are equally prevalent, but it is vital we continue to grow if we are to out staff issues at the top of the agenda.

If you are already a member we thank you for your support, but you to can put forward the case for Prospect membership. Talk to those in your workplace about membership. Tell them that, whilst Prospect can negotiate better terms and conditions for all and protect those already in place, we only have a voice with the employer because of the support of members.

To be 100% effective any trade union needs 100% membership so whether you are in a job role that would traditionally be Prospect or PCS, recruit those around you and if you are not a member, well, you should be. Any Prospect or PCS representatives will be more than happy to talk to you (in confidence) about the benefits of membership.

One thing the puts people off trade union membership is pages of waffle, so I'll sign off by wishing all NRPB staff a prosperous 2005.

Bob King

Negotiations Officer

Prospect

Final Issue Minutes of ADC, 11 January 2005

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