A FORK IN THE ROAD - where does the council go now?
So we’ve had meeting 15 with the council team. Carole Forrest is back in charge and the same old problems return.
It’s all about process and a complete inability to take decisions. These meetings are not negotiations but a Best a series of presentations. Even something as simply as a timetable for issues and milestones to enable them to meet their public promise to settle by the end of the year, cannot be agreed. Instead we send proposals and they say we will think about it and send a written response at some future date.
This was the pattern. We raise an issue, they set a timetable for a response be it parity, pay fields, phasing, staggered payments, TUPE , it’s all the same. Even where we have raised an issue, like TUPE before, it seems they have not discussed it in advance, so it gets kicked off to another meeting. The problem is they don’t usually meet the agreed date. So the commitments stack up and the pressure grows.
But we made it clear that this cannot continue. The are now at a fork in the road. They have to stop talking process and procedures. Now they have 5 weeks to start preparing and the committing to actual sums and decisions. But these officers seem to me to be scared of committing to anything.
We need real progress in August.
On the positive side everyone is agreed that if we have to go back to tribunal then we need to start the process now so that a joint application to the tribunals will be made for a planning meeting with the ET judges so we are ready if necessary. This doesn’t mean we are going back to tribunal, only that if we do we don’t lose time if negotiations break down.
Also on a positive they didn’t resile from the aim to get to settlement in January. But I stress this is an aim not a guarantee. If we are to achieve that the officers need to get their act together.
So the choice in the fork is either strike and tribunals down one road, or real settlement talks. Let’s see what they choose.