1) Who is covered by the changes?
The changes cover all employees except those who come under the purview of a
school governing body (i.e. are directly employed by a school) because such
employees are under the control of the School Governing Body and not the council
and we cannot enforce any changes. Those employees under Teacher terms and
conditions of employment are also not covered by the changes due to the restrictions
of their national conditions of service. The final group who are exempted are those
engaged on government funded intermediate apprentice or training schemes.
2) How long are the changes for?
The changes will be for the period 31 March 2014 until 31 March 2017.
3) What if I don’t agree to the changes?
If you choose not to agree to these changes and as such, you do not accept the new
contract, you will stand dismissed at the end of your working time on the 30 March
2014. This is obviously not the outcome which the council would want.
4) Have the unions agreed to these changes?
No. We have worked closely with the trade unions in determining which options the
council should take forward to achieve the savings. As a result of listening to the
trade unions, staff feedback and political directions, we have re-considered and
significantly changed the original proposals.
However, because the variation is a detrimental one, the trade unions considered
that they were unable to collectively agree on behalf of their members, as this would
have meant that the council could make the changes automatically.
5) If staff do not sign up to the new Terms and Conditions and have their
contract terminated do they lose continuous service benefits?
All employees are given “notice” of termination of the old contract and offered reengagement
on the new terms. Everyone has just over 12 weeks, i.e. the notice
period, to agree to the new contact during which time, if the new contract is accepted,
there will be no break between the ending of the old contract and the start of the new
contract. In this event continuous service and service related benefits are maintained.
In the event that the notice expires and the employee has not signed the new
contract, the termination takes effect at the end of working time on 30 March 2014
and the employee is dismissed for Some Other Substantial Reason.
6) If someone doesn’t accept the new terms and conditions change are they
making themselves redundant or are they resigning – clearly there is a big
difference re a compensation payment or otherwise?
Neither will apply.
As long as the employee accepts the new contract on or before 5pm on 28 March
2014 then there is no dismissal. However, should an employee not accept the new
contract, then, at the end of their working time on 30 March 2014, their contract will
come to an end and the employee will be dismissed for “Some Other Substantial
7) If someone hadn’t accepted the terms and conditions change but was due to
leave the authority, how would the change be applied?
If an employee does not accept the changes during the notice period, and leaves
employment prior to the end of the notice period, (30 March 2014) and therefore
whilst the existing contract is still in existence, then the changes will not have come
8) Will I be sacked if I don’t agree?
You have the 12-week notice period in which to decide whether to accept the new
contract. If, by the end of this, you haven’t accepted then the termination will become
effective and at that point you will be dismissed.
9) What is an SOSR dismissal?
SOSR stands for “some other substantial reason” and, under employment law, is one
of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal. Other potentially fair reasons include for
example because of conduct and capability or because of redundancy.
In this instance what it means is that if we cannot reach agreement with you to
change your contract of employment and you do not accept the offer of the new
contract then, at the end of the notice period, you will be dismissed and the reason
for that dismissal in employment terms will be SOSR.
10) Are staff employed by Unity going to be affected?
No, these changes apply to employees of Oldham Council.
11) Are agency staff covered by the changes?
No. Agency staff are not directly employed by the council and therefore, their terms
and conditions will remain unchanged. We are required to pay Agency staff parity
(i.e. the same) after 12 weeks service and this will be unchanged.