The Green Book and Disabled Workers – A Basic Safety Net

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2011 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2011

Conference agrees that National Joint Council (NJC) agreements enshrined in the “Green Book” form the very basis of local government terms and conditions for all workers in the service especially disabled workers; we especially value those covered in Part 2. We value our leave arrangements and believe that our sick pay arrangements protect members who are ill from having to survive in poverty.

Over a long period of time, the employers through their national bodies The Local Government Association (plus the Scottish equivalent) have attempted to get UNISON to agree to the weakening of these terms and conditions. UNISON has in the main resisted these attempts and this has led to local employers trying to get local UNISON branches to give up their members’ rights under the Green Book in return for some short-term gain. It is noted however that the overwhelming majority of branches have retained their NJC terms and conditions.

For disabled local government workers, these basic minimum protections can mean the difference between their ability to work and the prospect of facing disciplinary, capability or poor attendance procedures that could threaten their employment. The current nationally agreed scheme of sickness payments affords, in many cases, a life-line for those disabled members where protective legislation or agreements are not imposed for the members’ protection.

Conference is therefore extremely concerned that in the current political climate we face a sustained campaign by the LGA (and Scottish equivalent) supported by the Conservative dominated coalition government to erode the value of our nationally agreed terms and conditions. We are fully aware that the ultimate aim of both the LGA and the government is to abolish any notion of national free collective bargaining, leading to a version of “localism” that will empower local employers to ride rough shod over our rights at work.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to mount a high profile campaign that establishes our commitment to defend the Green Book as follows:

1)Make clear to employers’ organisations that it will not move away, nor sanction any branch to weaken the terms and condition of work for our members, particularly regarding the serious impact that any weakening of sick pay and leave arrangements will have on disabled members, and will at every opportunity ensure that disabled members interests are made known to the employers;

2)In collaboration with UNISON regions lend all practical support to branches that are coming under pressure to go “local” including traditional methods of industrial resistance to imposition of un-agreed measures;

3)Investigate the possibility of assisting branches outside the Green Book to explore ways of returning to the fold;

4)Take a firm stand against the employers whenever they try to weaken national terms and conditions;

5)Develop a strategy that will stand UNISON in good stead to defend the Green Book against any attack from central government to abolish national agreements.