News round-up, December 2016

News round-up from Prospect December 2016

A snapshot of what’s happening in and around Prospect in December 2016



NEWS

AWE enters ACAS talks as new pension offer rejected

Members at the Atomic Weapons Establishment have voted to reject a revised pension proposal made since they began ongoing industrial action. Before that ballot closed the company invited the unions to talks under the auspices of conciliation service ACAS. Prospect has withdrawn notice for a further strike on 15 Dec while the ACAS talks take place, though action short of a strike continues.

Meanwhile at Prime Minister’s Questions on 7 Dec, North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse called on Theresa May to ensure pension promises made to employees during AWE’s privatisation are kept. The company intends to replace the defined benefit pension scheme with a defined contribution alternative.

Members – many for the first time – went on strike for 24 hours on Nov 14. Watch the video.

 

Prospect hails end to toxic forced distribution

In a “triumph for common sense”, prolonged pressure by Prospect has secured important reforms to the toxic civil service performance management system. Departments and agencies will now have more flexibility and the guiding principles no longer contain the obligations to link performance to pay and to identify the so-called bottom group of performers.

 

QinetiQ £1bn MoD contract shows faith in staff

The Ministry of Defence has awarded defence technology company QinetiQ a £1bn contract to modernise and operate MOD air ranges and test aircrew training. It marks a “show of faith in both QinetiQ and our members who work there”, says Prospect’s Dai Hudd.

 

Pension worries on the Isle of Man

More than 2,000 Prospect members on the Isle of Man are affected by proposals to change the main public sector pension scheme, including:

  • a 2.5% contributions increase for active members, to be phased in from April 2018
  • a 6% reduction in the value of pension accrued after April 2017 (implemented through a lower accrual rate).

The consultation closes on 6 Jan 2017, with legislation expected in Feb 2017.

 

Flaws in Higher Education and Research bill

The second reading House of Lords debate on 6 Dec failed to address Prospect concerns about the Higher Education and Research Bill. It will submit a further briefing at the Lords committee stage.

 

Prospect seeks DfE talks on school improvement

Prospect has written to education secretary Justine Greening seeking talks with Department for Education officials about the government’s funding plans and strategy for school improvement.

 

Welcome for nuclear skills plan

A new roadmap for nuclear skills – drawn up ahead of the construction of the first new nuclear power stations in decades – has been welcomed by Prospect’s Gill Wood. She is the TUC representative on the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group Board, which drew up the plan.

 

Heed advice on British shipbuilding

Prospect says the government must act on an independent report proposing ways to make the British shipbuilding industry sustainable while increasing exports. Meanwhile, watch a video where head of research Jonathan Green explains why Britain needs a new defence industrial strategy.

 

Bring pride back to DVSA

Restoring the emphasis on road safety and making employees proud are priorities for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, chief executive Gareth Llewellyn told members at Prospect’s DVSA branch annual conference.

 

BLOGS

Ringside at the Supreme Court

What’s it like in the Supreme Court? Helen Hall, senior legal assistant, watched our QC in action on day two of Prospect’s pay discrimination challenge on behalf of Prison Service chaplain Mohammad Naeem. A judgment is expected in the New Year.

Voluntary national insurance contributions

Many members reaching state pension age over the next few years will receive less than the advertised full rate of the new state pension – £155.65 per week in 2016-17. Paying additional voluntary national insurance contributions may be a good idea for some, explains pensions officer Neil Walsh.
 

ALSO NEW THIS MONTH

New subs rates from Jan 2017

Subscriptions for those covered by Prospect’s banded structure and retired members will increase by 1.5% on 1 January 2017. Salary thresholds will also rise by 1.5%. This increase was agreed by national conference delegates in May 2016.

The NEC is very conscious of the continuing squeeze on members’ incomes, especially for those in public services. However, subscriptions were frozen in January 2016 and only increased by 1.5% in 2015 – so the average increase over the three years will be about 1% per year.

“We never increase subscriptions unless absolutely necessary,” said general secretary Mike Clancy. “This modest increase will allow us to ensure we deliver the huge breadth of work we have before us.”

See how much you will be paying next year (*member log-in required).

New Brexit pages

New web pages will inform members about Prospect’s work on Brexit. The union is politically independent but concerned that leaving the EU will have significant and challenging implications for many members. Get involved or share your story by contacting jenny.andrew@prospect.org.uk or sue.ferns@prospect.org.uk

Work of the future

How will technology impact on work of the future? This was the topic of a workshop led by UNI Global Union senior organiser Nigel Flanagan at Prospect’s annual young professionals’ forum in Manchester. The forum also elected a new committee for 2016-17.

Autumn statement  

Members can download a briefing note on the Autumn Statement summarising key economic forecasts and policy announcements of interest.

Sector newsletters to download

EnergyEye – energy and nuclear

DigitalEye – communications, media and digital sector

WiseEye – retired members

EducationEye – education and children’s services

EVENT

Is your brain pink or blue?

Prospect and the National Union of Teachers are holding a free joint event – “Is your brain pink or blue? Challenging stereotyping in STEM” – on 19 Jan, 6pm-8.30pm, Hamilton House, London WC1H 9BD. 

Register for this event or download a flyer.

PRACTICALITIES

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