Prospect is balloting members in the National Trust on the organisation’s proposals around furloughing staff and radically revising the pay award for 2020.
Prospect representatives and full-time officers have been in close discussion with the Trust during the past few weeks on how to best support members on homeworking, health and safety, caring commitments and where there is a need for members to self-isolate.
The Trust presented proposals around furlough leave to lead branch representatives on 27 March. These were shared with the wider branch executive on 30 March.
Furlough leave is effectively a temporary layoff for staff whose work will not exist for the duration of the lockdown period.
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows companies to claim the equivalent of 80% of an individual’s salary, up to a cap of £2,500 a month.
The branch executive agreed furlough leave with the Trust on the basis of 100% pay.
Staff asked to take a period of furlough leave will not have their pay reduced, will continue to accrue contractual annual leave and the Trust will ensure their pension entitlements are paid in full.
The branch executive agreed this element of the Trust’s proposals immediately because consulting all members would have delayed the Trust’s ability to access the scheme and added to its cost pressures.
Trust staff on flexible hour contracts
Prospect is still in discussion with the Trust on how to apply furlough leave for this group of staff. The union is committed to ensuring it gets the best deal possible for some of its lowest paid and most vulnerable members.
Pay award 2020
However, the agreement in principle around topping up furlough leave by 20% will cost around £3.6m for every month that it is required.
So, the Trust has proposed to withdraw the agreed pay award for 2020 and has put forward a radically reduced offer:
- Grade 11 will receive a 6.2% increase to bring them up to the Statutory National Living Wage (from £16,010 to £17,004); staff whose salaries are below this new target point will receive an increase up to the new pay level
- a 2% increase for Grade 10; moving to a minimum of £17,352; this is to protect the grade differential between 10 and 11
- no pay award for Grades 9 to 3
- director level Grades 1 and 2 have already agreed not to take their pay award for 2020.
The Trust will not apply the pay matrix, there will be no payments made for last year’s PDR ratings and it will not be possible for PDR to take place in the coming year.
The Trust has committed to review the situation on the 2020 pay award with Prospect later in the year when all operations are back up and running.
The branch executive committee is recommending that members accept the Trust’s proposals.
Prospect negotiator Lisa Browne said: “The branch recognises that this an unprecedented time – not only for the Trust, but for many organisations. We realise the severity of the situation and its effects on the organisation as a whole.
“We entered discussions with this in mind and wanted to achieve outcomes that benefited members and protected jobs, while also mitigating the need for redundancies.
“Although being furloughed and away from work poses challenges in itself, we feel that many staff will welcome the Trust’s commitment to topping up salaries for the foreseeable future.”
The ballot will run until midday on Thursday 16 April 2020.
Browne urged members to discuss the proposals with colleagues, encourage them to vote and encourage non-members to join Prospect so they can have their say too.
If members vote to accept these proposals, they will be implemented immediately. Those receiving a pay increase will have it backdated to 1 April 2020.