Abolition of the Two Tier Code

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2011 National Delegate Conference
28 February 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference deplores the Tory approach to procurement, and further outsourcing of public services. Conference further condemns the government’s abolition of the central government two tier code that protected contracted out workers from employers wanting to force down their terms and conditions and is concerned that it will be removed in other parts of government where it has been rolled out such as health and local government.

Conference also notes that the government announced in March this year that the local government two tier code (the Code of Practice on Workforce Matters in Local Authority Service Contracts) was to be scrapped and that the government is seeking views on whether there might be a replacement such as a voluntary statement of good employment principles.

Conference notes that just like the last Tory led government in the 1990’s this government wants to weaken labour protections and give more power to employers. Removing the two tier code will not only allow private contractors to set lower terms and conditions but it will put more pressure on TUPE transferred staff, as new starters working alongside them will have inferior pay and conditions.

Conference recognises that this cynical move will return us to a bidding war between contractors with the lowest bid winning. As jobs, terms and conditions are cut there will be higher staff turnover as people look for better jobs, less training and investment in the workforce and an inevitable deterioration in service quality.

Conference notes that the government has replaced the central government two tier code with Principles of Good Employment Practice and that these provide for trade union consultation at different stages of the procurement process, as well as calling for “fair and reasonable pay, terms and conditions” for new entrants working alongside former public sector workers.

Conference applauds the enlightened positions of the devolved government in Wales which is not proposing to undermine protections for outsourced workers.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:

1)work to influence European, central and local government and employer procurement policies to support good workforce practices for contracted out staff;

2)work through the TUC to get government to properly review the Six Principles of Good Employment Practice in 2012;

3)work with Labour Link to influence the UNISON group of MPs and Labour Party policy to support proper protections for and a fair deal for contracted out staff.

And to encourage branches and regions to:

a)resist any attempts to renegotiate existing contracts with any detriment to pay and conditions;

b)press for proper monitoring and full implementation of the two-tier code where it is included in contracts;

c)develop strategies to organise all outsourced staff, both those with TUPE protection and those without it;

d)urge employers to adopt local, voluntary, two tier clauses for new and extended contracts;

e)negotiate with employers to fully adopt the Six Principles of Good Employment Practice for new and extended contracts.