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AND THE ROUTE IS SET
First, thank you to all the women that turned up to the hearing. An amazing turnout. Very impressive. Now they’ll understand a bit more what boring lives we lawyers lead. Bodyguard it ain’t!
I won’t bore you with the gory details so this is just a summary. As with most court hearings there were good and bad bits, but overall I was pleased with the outcome. We didn’t get everything I wanted but we got a lot of it. The most important part was that we got a clear route map in tribunal if negotiations fail and the council do not produce an acceptable offer by the end of the year.
I need to stress that we still think negotiations are the best way forward. The problem with the tribunal is that you have no way of guaranteeing victory, some folk will do better than others(some might get nothing) and it takes forever.
What’s important is that we haven’t lost any more tribunal time allowing them the chance to properly negotiate. If we had no negotiations the timetable agreed today would probably be about the same.
However, we needed the tribunal as a backstop. It concentrates the mind knowing that no deal means back to tribunal ASAP.
So, if there is no deal we’ve agreed a 3 pronged attack. First, remedies for protection at least for ex manual workers. This will be sometime March to May. The tribunal will set dates in the next month.
Second , starting the Equal Value process for everyone, but particularly for non manuals and new claims. This is a horribly long process but the first date will be in November this year. We hope even if we get no deal we will reduce the number of jobs that need to go through this process.
Third, a hearing to determine the rest of the major issues such as NSWP, ECD, Part time work and the treatment of Cordia staff. This will be listed in the period of June to August next year. Again dates to be fixed in the next month. I know a lot of those that attended today thought this was a long way but believe me this is a very tight timescale. It’s a very comprehensive route map.
It should also be said that the council remained committed to the December negotiations timetable they set. I’m not convinced but happy to let them prove me wrong. We are told that there will be important developments on this front this week. I shall report as soon anything is confirmed.
So not a champagne day, but a solid important day.
The claimant group will be meeting again to review where we are and no doubt the unions will report to their members too.
As always I shall follow your comments with interest