Union Mail – April 2012

Regional Councils – Members Issues

The first NGSU Regional Councils of 2012 were held during February and March and debated a number of issues affecting members in branches and administration centres. The Union has seven Regional Councils covering the branch network (including Regional Brands branches and Financial Solutions) and a Council for departments in each of the Administration Centres and the Regional Brands. The Councils meet three times a year and bring together Union Representatives from that part of the business and Union Officials to discuss issues raised by NGSU members.

Branch Network

The branch network Councils are followed by local Employee Involvement Committees (EICS) where Union Reps have the opportunity to discuss issues with the Network Performance Directors and Area Directors. The three Councils representing the South Division held a combined meeting which was also attended by Greg Heaton, DD Branch Network (South).

The issue of overtime remains an issue of concern for Union members in the Network. Representatives from across the country reported that the agreed approach to overtime was not being implemented in all Areas and that members are still being denied or actively discouraged from claiming overtime payments and that Time-Off-In-Lieu (TOIL) balances are building up to a point where it is impossible to take the time off which is owed. Some employees on 9 to 5 contracts continue to be excluded from working Saturday because of their contract type.

At the EIC meetings, both Performance Directors were very clear that the Society is committed to following the approach to overtime, agreed with the Union, which was most recently communicated in the message by the Divisional Directors earlier this year. This commitment was re-stated along with a promise to investigate and intervene where overtime/Saturday Working arrangements are not being correctly applied – with escalation routes identified as via Area Directors; Union Reps and Officials and ultimately the Performance Directors.

We therefore urge members who are experiencing issues with overtime to raise their concerns with their local Union Rep. Further information about branch overtime is available from the NGSU website (follow the ‘branch overtime’ link from the Home Page).

Other issues discussed included:

Single Servicing of ATMs: It was agreed that the change in procedures could have been communicated more effectively and confusion existed regarding the role of the ‘second’ person required to be in the branch and whether overtime/TOIL arrangements apply (they do where this time is worked in addition to normal working hours). A number of practical and security concerns, particularly regarding the exposure to claims of cash differences, were also raised.

Your Scorecard: Details of the new bonus scheme and scorecard were discussed. There was positive feedback regarding the move to measure performance against a broader range of skills and behaviour (rather than an absolute focus on target achievement) and the opportunity to reward performance with additional bonus. However, concerns were expressed about how the option to withdraw an element of bonus would be used – there already being evidence that this could be used to intimidate and apply inappropriate pressure. Union Reps were asked to monitor the implementation of the new scheme and report back to Regional Councils/EICs in May.

There were also discussions about targets for all roles and the impact of continued market pressures; the flow of administration tasks back to branches and problems with the new RMSI.

Representatives from the Regional Brands reported similar issues with regard to overtime and sought reassurance about the future direction of the business. The Society presented plans to invest in branch refurbishment and conversion to Peoplesoft as evidence of the continued commitment to the ‘Brands’.

Financial Solutions

A new EIC has been established to consult on issues affecting those working in Financial Solutions and this met for the first time in March. Union Reps raised concerns about the long hours culture impacting on SFCs. The Society agreed to investigate these issues further and, where possible, to identify changes to work practices to help alleviate excessive pressures. The EIC also discussed the forthcoming pay review for SFCs and looked ahead to how the business would consult about pay arrangements from 2013 onwards.

Administration Centres

The Regional Councils for the Administration Centres were held against the background of redundancy
announcements across a number of Divisions. Discussions focused on how change programmes are communicated and the support available for the employees affected by the changes.

Other issues discussed included the inconsistency in approach to breaks for employees within the same division but based at different sites; concerns about the approach to calibration ahead of the annual performance reviews; the implementation of the ‘secondment’ policy (where individuals are unable to return to their original role due to ‘back-filling’) and a number of local issues (car parking) and health & safety issues were raised.

Next Regional Councils

The next round of Regional Councils will be held in May and June and will form part of our consultation with members regarding the 2012 Pay Review. If you have concerns or issues you’d like to be discussed by the Councils please contact your local NGSU Representative (a list of Reps is available on our website – follow the ‘Who’s My Rep’ from the Quick Links menu on the Home Page).

If you would like to become a Union Rep please contact Kerry Wagg, Rep Support Officer, on 01295 710767 or kerry@ngsu.org.uk.

Tim Poil
General Secretary

Performance Rating Appeals

We would like to remind Union members that there is an Appeal Process to deal with concerns about Annual Performance Ratings and we urge members to use this process if they feel their rating is unfair. The Union will support members through the process and this includes providing representation at formal meetings to discuss the rating.

Members wishing to raise concerns should do so informally with their manager first and if this fails to resolve the matter submit a formal grievance. Further details about the process can be found on the Nationwide Intranet or in the March edition of Union Mail which is available on our website.

If you would like to discuss issues arising from the performance rating process or if you would like Union representation at an appeal meeting please call us on 01295 710767.

April Draw Winners

First Prize: £10,930

David Miller – Customer Services Team 1

Second Prize: £5,000

Tracey Shellard – Household Claims

Third Prize: £2,000

Katrina Williams – Training

Fourth Prizes: £500

Sheila Clipson – Pension Fund Member
Simon Abbott – Dartford
Jean Veare – Pension Fund Member