News round-up, July 2016

News round-up, July 2016

A snapshot of what’s been happening in and around Prospect during July 2016.



Prospect slams “chaotic” energy policy

Hinkley point power stationProspect wrote to the Prime Minister seeking an urgent meeting after the government delayed a decision on Hinkley Point C. Deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “It is incomprehensible that ministers and officials are not familiar with the deal hammered out with EDF over a number of years.

“At best the decision looks chaotic. At worst it appears that UK government is not a reliable or trustworthy partner.”

Prospect’s public services manifesto

Prospect stand at civil service live eventProspect has set out its plans for supporting members through the changes ahead in the public sector – including to gather evidence to argue for a new approach to specialist pay, analyse the changes over the past five years, campaign to safeguard science and engineering capability and step up the pressure for a fairer performance management system. Please download, read and share the manifesto with non-members.

  • Participants gave Prospect a warm reception at this summer’s Civil Service Live events, where for the first time the union had stands in Glasgow, Sheffield, Cardiff and at the two-day London event.

Ministry of Defence to rethink performance management system

Following a vocal campaign by Prospect members, the Ministry of Defence is to step back from forced distribution and is consulting staff on a better approach to PM.

The story was covered in Civil Service World.

The Valuation Office Agency is also testing a new performance management regime based on monthly coaching discussions and no mid or end-of-year ratings.

Digital communications review

Telcoms regulator, Ofcom published its strategic review of digital communications in late July. The report sets out proposals that could have a major impact on Prospect members, particularly in Openreach. Prospect will meet Ofcom to discuss the report.

Redundancy attacks – write to your MP

Thousands of Prospect members will be penalised by government proposals to worsen their redundancy entitlements – just six years after agreeing changes that the government said were “right for the long term”. Please use Prospect’s guidance to write to your MP about the changes.

The robots are coming

RobotsHow will new technology transform the world of work? A packed parliamentary reception organised by Prospect helped to shed light on the question, with guest speakers Roger Highfield, director of external affairs at the Science Museum; Lord John Monks, former general secretary of the TUC and European TUC; and Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth.

Participants hail BME training event

Prospect members at BME eventSeventeen black and minority ethnic members participated in a Prospect development and leadership programme at Ruskin College, Oxford, in July. David Ogunsade from BT, a software graduate in mobile applications, said: “The training was an eye opener and got me thinking. I feel better prepared for career success because of what I have learnt.”

Speak up about BME job obstacles

There’s still time to feed into a government review of the obstacles facing people from BME backgrounds at work. Members are encouraged to fill in a survey on the Department for Business website by 22 August.  Prospect will also submit a response so do email any comments to Sandie Maile by Monday 1 August.

What does Brexit mean for science?

Prospect is inviting members who work in science to flag up the implications of the EU Brexit vote for funding and employment in their organisations. Please email Sue Ferns with your comments. This work follows a survey that our members took part in earlier this year.

Help make the UK a little less ugly

The UK sadly already appears uglier since the EU referendum, in the light of a reported 57% increase in racist incidents, deputy general secretary Sue Ferns said in a recent blog. Thousands of EU nationals in Prospect now feel more insecure and vulnerable about their place in our society, she adds. “The union’s objectives, enshrined in its rules, call on us all to unite the interests of members and to promote equality of opportunity.”

Workers must not pay price of Brexit

General secretary Mike Clancy wrote to all members after the EU referendum and blogged on the website to stress that amid the uncertainty ahead, Prospect will remain focused on putting members first: defending jobs, pay and skills.

Cameron’s double standards condemned

Former prime minister David Cameron’s decision to pay his special advisers more than their contractual entitlement to severance demonstrates a “breathtaking arrogance, hypocrisy and disdain for civil servants”, Prospect has said.  It has written to his replacement Theresa May highlighting the unfair treatment at a time when the government is seeking to further reduce severance terms across the civil service.

Airports pensions breakthrough

aeroplane in sky and air traffic control towerProspect and Unite are to ballot members on a new pensions offer from AGS Airports  (Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton). Conciliation service ACAS helped break the deadlock after the employer signalled its intention to close the defined benefit pension scheme to future accrual for existing members. Unions say the new offer is an improvement.

Report avoids main energy issues

Prospect wants consumers to get a fair deal but has highlighted the need for stability in the energy sector in response to the findings of a Competition and Markets Authority investigation. The real challenges are security of supply, capacity, the transition to low-carbon generation and attracting and retaining skilled engineers and professionals, the union said.

Two-year pay offer for Babcock DSG…

Members at Babcock DSG have accepted a two-year pay agreement that pays an aggregate consolidated increase of 3.5% plus £250 over 20 months, with additional increases for staff at the bottom of pay bands.

…but at the Ministry of Defence

Prospect has said it is unable to agree the latest pay offer from MOD. Its overall value is constrained by the 1% public sector pay cap but recruitment and retention issues are stretching defence-critical activities to breaking point.

Read the union’s manifesto for specialist pay in MOD.

Risks of all-lane running on motorways

A transport select committee report has warned that motorway hard shoulders should not be used as permanent driving lanes while major safety concerns exist. Prospect has welcomed the findings.

Call for equal pension rights for same-sex couples

A Prospect motion calling on unions to campaign for equal pension rights for same-sex partners was unanimously supported at the TUC’s LGBT+ conference in June.

Redundancy blow at National Trust for Scotland

The National Trust for Scotland risks damage to its long-term aims by pursuing short-term cost savings, Prospect has warned after the employer revealed a restructure that could see up to 139 staff made redundant. The union is working to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.

Prospect's Union Week

#talkProspect – 3-7 October 2016

Plans are well under way for Union Week from 3-7 October. Branches across the UK are organising activities to encourage members to get more involved in the union and non-members to join us.

We’ve set up a dedicated web area which includes 50 ideas for things to do and will list events as they are finalised. You can download resources like posters, stickers and a social media twibbon. Email organisation@prospect.org.uk for hard copies or for guidance on running an event.

Video competition

In the run up to Union Week, why not unleash your creative talents by entering our “Why I’m in Prospect” video competition? It’s open to all members and their families and the prize is a camcorder worth £250. The closing date is midday, 12 September.

Blogs

Tolpuddle festival – Graham Stewart, parliamentary officer, blogs on this year’s event. In an earlier news story Lloyd Collier (Diamond Light Source) and Steve Clark (Babcock International) explain why they encouraged members to attend.

Union Week – Mike Graham, head of recruitment and organising, blogs on the aspirations of Union Week and the value of strength in numbers.

Independent union – Mike Clancy, general secretary, blogs on why Prospect’s political independence enables the union to be more influential.

The productivity puzzle – Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary, blogs on the Smith Institute’s report about productivity, based on evidence from more than 7,500 union members.

Also new this month

Hot off the press

DigitalEye for members in our communications, media and digital sector

DefenceEye for members in the public and private sectors

MoDEye for those in the Ministry of Defence

EducationEye for members in education and children’s services

From your legal team

  • Injunction for inducement to breach contract
  • The right to be accompanied to disciplinary and grievance hearings

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Events

Young professionals’ forum

Members aged 30 and under are invited to this year’s Young Professionals Forum at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, on 12-13 November. Download a leaflet with all the details.

Have you kept us up to date with details?

If you have moved home or changed your email address or other contact details, please email membership@prospect.org.uk. You can also amend your details via your member welcome page if you have registered on our website.

New password security on our website

Later this year Prospect will be making it easier for you to access standard members-only content on the national website without having to log in every time you visit the site. Before we do this, we need to make sure all members have passwords that are robust and secure.

If you have been through the first-time login process or changed your log-in details since May 2014 you will already have a secure password.

But more than 40,000 members set up their log-in details before that date. If you’re one of them, you’ll have received an email from us earlier this month.

We don’t have access to your password, so we don’t know whether it’s secure or not. But when you log into our site, it now checks how robust the password is (using an algorithm). If it’s OK, you won’t notice any difference.

But if it’s not strong enough, your login will be denied: you’ll see a warning message on screen, and you’ll be sent an email with a link which enables you to create a new password. You won’t be able to log in again until you’ve done so.

If you have any questions about this, please contact web@prospect.org.uk

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