Consultations Response

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18 June 2009

NIPSA response on Local Government Reform: Establishment of Transition Committees in Statute: Consultation Document April 2009

Correspondence between Mr. J Murphy, Local Government Policy Division, Department of the Environment and Bumper Graham Assistant General Secretary NIPSA.

I am setting out here the views and comments of NIPSA, in respect of the above consultation document. As you will be aware NIPSA is Northern Ireland’s largest trade union, representing in excess of 46,000 members. Within the existing 26 Councils we have over 3,500 members and also represent the vast majority of these staff due to transfer from the NI Civil Service, NIHE and other transferring functions.

The purpose of this response is to identify the issues that NIPSA considers important to protect and promote the interests of staff affected by the RPA proposals for local government. For that reason it is not necessary nor appropriate to respond to the Consultation questions as set out in the document.

NIPSA would comment as follows, using relevant paragraphs from the document:

Paragraph 10:

NIPSA notes the proposal to provide for the DOE to make payments to Transition Committees. This is to be welcomed, as NIPSA considers that such payments will be necessary to fund a Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme for staff. Such a scheme to be the subject of negotiations with the trade unions and to be applied on a common basis across the 11 Transition Committees/26 Councils. The Scheme must be in compliance with PSC Guiding Principles and as per the Health and Education Sectors Schemes fully funded by Central Government.

Paragraph 11:

There are numerous aspects of the proposed provisions that impact upon staff and as such it should be mandatory that the Transition Committees apply the PSC Guiding Principles. In addition it also must be a requirement for the Transition Committees to ensure that whatever consultation/negotiating structures agreed with the trade unions to deal with Local Government RPA are fully adhered to. These arrangements will be between the recognised NIJC trade unions and those of the transferring functions in agreement with DOE and the other relevant employer bodies.

Paragraph 26:

NIPSA notes the content of this paragraph, however it must not be utilised by any Transition Committee to evade it’s responsibilities to fully engage with the Trade Unions as per the comments above.

Paragraph 28:

NIPSA would wish to place a marker to ensure that there is full consultation/negotiation with the Trade Unions on appropriate processes, staffing structures etc and that the PSC Guiding Principles are fully adhered to.

Paragraph 29:

NIPSA welcomes the recognition of the role of the Local Government Staff Commission and fully endorses the full application of all LGSC functions on the working of Transition Committees.

Annex B:

I note that NIPSA and the NIJC Trade Union Side were omitted from ‘List of Consultees’. I would be grateful if you would ensure that this is rectified for all future consultations. In addition it would be important to ensure that the Public Service Commission is also consulted.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this submission or seek clarification please feel free to contact me.

Bumper Graham

Assistant General Secretary

NIPSA response on Local Government Reform: Proposed Severance Scheme for District Councillors: Consultation Document April 2008

Correspondence between Ms J Broadway, Local Government Policy Division, Department of the Environment and Bumper Graham Assistant General Secretary NIPSA.

I am setting out here the views and comments of NIPSA, in respect of the above consultation document. As you will be aware NIPSA is Northern Ireland’s largest trade union, representing in excess of 46,000 members. Within the existing twenty six Councils we have over 3,500 members and also represent the vast majority of those staff due to transfer from the Northern Ireland Civil Service, NIHE and other transferring functions. NIPSA notes the proposals for a Severance Scheme for District Councillors who opt not to strand for re-election and are not members of the NI Assembly, the UK Parliament or the European Parliament.

NIPSA would support the funding of the Scheme coming from Central Government and to be funded as additional monies without any adverse impact on the NI bloc.

It is not acceptable to NIPSA for the funding to be sourced from Local Government as this is liable to adversely impact on both local government employees via job cuts and on reduced services.

NIPSA would wish to take this opportunity to reinforce it’s position in respect of a Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme for staff. Such a Scheme to be the subject of negotiations with the trade unions and to be applied on a common basis across the 11 Transition Committees/26 Councils. The Scheme must be in compliance with PSC Guiding Principles and as for the Health and Education Sectors Schemes fully funded by Central Government.

Annex B

I note that NIPSA and the NIJC Trade Union Side were omitted from the ‘List of Consultees’. I would be grateful if you would ensure that this is rectified for all future consultations.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this submission or seek clarification please feel to contact me.

Bumper Graham

Assistant General Secretary

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