TALKS CONTINUE - KEEP CALM

TALKS CONTINUE - KEEP CALM

Week 6 update.
As I predicted last week, the council accepted that it was going to be impossible to reach a deal before Xmas. This is just the practical reality of something so complicated.
We believe this is far more preferable than the council rushing out a daft “offer” just so they could meet their daft timetable. We also felt it much better that this be agreed collectively than have a PR war or blame game.
So this is the agreed joint statement:
“Both sides agree that the last six weeks have been productive and that substantial progress towards a settlement has been made.
We continue to work constructively together to reach agreement on the last remaining issues. These issues are complex and it has therefore been agreed by negotiators from both sides that they will continue to work on these issues over the Christmas period with a view to concluding these talks in the early part of the New Year.
Both sides remain committed to agreeing a settlement as soon as is practicably possible.”
We are also agreed that we should do everything to try and preserve the target date for actual payments, which is April 2019.
If we don’t succeed then we now have dates for 2 tribunal hearings. These are 20-22 February for their amendments application and their attack on GMB claims, and now 23-29th April for protection claims remedies hearings.
Bottom line for the claimant team is that getting the right deal is more important than any deadline. Artificial deadlines are an unnecessary roadblock. However, my view is that there is still a hell of a lot of work to do before we have the right deal. We will keep talking until Xmas but we might need the whole of January too. A deal is not yet close. But neither are we close to talks breaking down. It is, and always was going to be, a long hard slog.
So the message really is, we remain calm and we remain talking.
Stefan Cross

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