Many of you will recently had a letter from The Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) saying that you have been auto-enrolled into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). A few members have been calling the office asking about this so I would like to give members a bit of information about this.
The first thing to say is that I am NOT giving financial advice any decision you make is yours.
One bit of confusion is that the decision to auto-enroll is not made by RBG it is something that the law says every employer has to do every 3 years. You can, if you wish come out of the scheme and your contributions will be refunded.
Some bits of information you may want to consider when you decide what to do are.
If you are in the pension scheme you don’t pay Income tax on your contributions so £80 paid into the scheme means £100 goes to the Pension Fund.
As well as the money you put in RBG put in around another 18%, so if you earn £20,000 RBG puts in about another £3,600 on top of your contributions. If you are not in the scheme RBG saves that £3,600.
The Pension Scheme also gives you life insurance, if you die in service and earn £20,000 you family will get £60,000.
If you will struggle to pay the full amount there is a 50/50 option where you pay half for half the benefits (though you still get the full life cover).
The scheme is what’s called a ‘defined benefit’ scheme, which means that what you get back is guaranteed unlike most pension schemes which depend on how the stock market is doing.
At the end of the day it is your decision whether to stay in or come out again. More information can be found here;
I am glad to report that all the Unions have now signed up to the collective agreement to update the formula for TTO pay.
The same agreement UNISON signed up to yesterday.
The aim is for RBG, GS+ and GSS to pay the increase from 01/04/2018 in November on 22nd and the balance of the back pay/pension compensation in December.
Please don't spend it till you have got it! It's always possible that unforeseen circumstances could slow things up. It is also very complicated so with the best will in the world mistakes may occur. Often School Staff have 3 or more separate contracts and have increased and decreased hours over the years. TTO can mean anything from 38 to 44 weeks a year etc.
We have had very positive discussions with other employers using the same flawed formula and many of them are hoping to get payments out to their staff in December or January. They also have to sign collective agreements and need to authorise expenditure via their trustees. This includes Academies and Children's Centres. Some will be quicker than others and their HR should keep you updated.
One or Two have not yet responded and UNISON are actively trying to engage with them to fall in line with everyone else.
We will of course support members to file more cases with the Employment Tribunal if necessary.
Thanks for reading and welcome to the 45 new members who have joined us this month.
Welcome to UNISON the union that gets things done.
All the best,
TERM TIME ONLY PAY
Just a quick update for members affected by the Term Time Only Pay/backpay issue.
Today (14th November) I met with the Head of HR for RBG and signed the new Collective Agreement between RBG, GS+ and GSS to implement the new, fair Term Time Only formula.
This is the Formula which UNISON put to the Council well over two years ago and which all 3 Unions signed up to back in August. The formula we at UNISON have been fighting for for nearly 6 years and which in support of, we filed nearly 500 cases at the Employment Tribunal.
This will ensure that all 5000 Term Time Only staff employed by RBG, GS+ and GSS get paid fairly and receive some £4m in back pay/compensation for loss of Pension.
Unfortunately the other 2 Unions recognised for the purposes of Collective
Bargaining are yet to sign the Collective Agreement so I am sorry to say that there may not be enough time to implement the part payment which the employer had hoped to put through in November's pay. I hope that they will sigh up on Thursday so that payment can be made.
There is however nothing more that we at UNISON can do until they decide to sign, we have done all we can to make it happen.
I will keep you updated and please speak to your friends and colleagues about joining us in UNISON to add to the 40 new members who we welcome into the Branch so far this Month,
All the Best,
Good things come in 3's!
Following on from the brilliant news of £4m back pay for 5000 Term Time Only workers won by UNISON filing nearly 500 Employment Tribunal Cases and GS+/GSS staff getting the London Living Wage increase in November, at the same time as Royal Borough of Greenwich (which UNISON alone campaigned for), we can now celebrate no. 3!
The 3rd UNISON victory is that from December all Apprentices with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and GS+ /GSS will now get the London Living Wage of £10.55/hour.
Yet again this is an issue that we alone at Greenwich UNISON have raised and battled for and now WON!
A big welcome to our 24 new members so far this month. So why don't you talk to your friends, family and colleagues about how UNISON delivers for their members and if get them to JOIN us.
Apprentices can even join for £10 a year, that's less than an hours wages now!
UNISON's 25th Birthday
It is 25 years since 3 unions joined together to make UNISON, the country’s largest Public Sector Union.
To celebrate this event on Tuesday 14th August Greenwich UNISON are organising a FREE day trip to Margate for our members and their Children.
We will be picking up from Eltham and Woolwich around 9 and leaving Margate about 5.30.
While the day out is free, we will ask for a £10 deposit per person/family group to secure your place/places.
We will give this back to you on the Day.
For more details/ to book a place, please phone the Branch on 020 8921 5226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Places are limited so get back to us ASAP
UNISON to make sure you are paid when RBG requires you to get to work!
Greenwich Unison alongside fellow union Unite, have been in discussion with management over the start time of RBG staff, RBG are under the false impression that as an your employer they can ask you to start work 15 minutes before your contractual start time and not pay you!
Please see flyer below for more info.
We think that the Council have incorrectly paid members overtime since at least 2008.
If you are in a Scale 1-6 post (not SO1 or above) and have been paid overtime at any point over the last 6 years and want Unison to follow this up you need to complete a Case Form.
You can download one using the link below.
Alternatively, you can phone the office on 020 8921 5226 and we will post one out to you.
The Tories 'Magic Service Tree'
(and how Greenwich fall for it)
Much has been made over the last few weeks by the Tories about the 'Magic Money Tree' (the one which they shook to find £1.5bn to buy off the DUP to stay in power). However the Government believe in another Magic Tree, they think that if you cut spending, magically services will still happen.
In Local Government, spending has been cut by 40%, this has been achieved by actually cutting services, by reducing our members wages relative to prices and, more insidiously by using outsourcing to reduce the pay and conditions of our members.
A perfect example of this is the situation our members face at Home Start Greenwich who run Children's Centres for the Borough in parts of Greenwich. The contracts were given to other providers such as Home Start in 2014 because of government cuts in funding.
The existing staff were told that their terms and conditions would be protected, including their right to a Local Government Pension. Now 3 years done the line, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is cutting the funding to Home Start and magically expecting Home Start to provide more services with less money. The result is that Home Start are saying that the only way this can be done is to strip their staff of their Local Government Pension and replace it with an inferior one which costs them less and will result in a lower Pension for our members when they retire.
Prompt Action by our Branch has put a stop to this for the time being, but the time has come for our Labour controlled Borough to stop this outsourcing nonsense. They are implementing the Tories agenda by pretending that outsourcing services magically maintains services, the only way services continue is because people get paid less and have worse terms and conditions.
The end result of this nonsense is that you can't get enough staff to deliver the services, those that remain are over worked, demoralised and ultimately less efficient, not more, and as far as the whole economy is concerned there are a lot more low paid workers which means less economic activity, lower tax revenues and more cuts.
Greenwich Unison have had enough of this nonsense and if you have too then get more involved with us campaigning for well paid staff working for the Borough providing high quality services to our local residents.
New National Schools Funding Formular will rob London's children of essential funding for their education and poses a massive threat to School Support Staff jobs.
Find out more about Schools Funding Cuts and what you can do to help stop them HERE
or have a look at our face book page;
Latest Unison Courses available
We have a network of trained local advisors and negotiators who will provide you with help at work when you need it most, as well as professional legal advisors and experts when appropriate.
CONWAY SCHOOL UPDATE see Conway page and write to Teresa Pearce MP
All Greenwich UNISON 7 Branch Officers have been issued with a UNISON mobile and dedicated email address that is synced to their mobile to improve contact with members. If you are unsure who your workplace rep is, please review the list below to determine which Branch officer covers your area. They will either deal with your issue on your behalf or refer you to a local workplace UNISON rep. Please contact them directly, or alternatively contact the office 0208 921 5226.
See below for full details:
07879 990318 email@example.com
Assistant Branch Secretary Private Sector and representation for members working for GS+ and GSS
07881 384397 firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Branch Secretary Royal Borough of Greenwich
07879 990269 email@example.com
Assistant Branch Secretary Schools and Colleges
07818 518934 firstname.lastname@example.org
07881 384409 email@example.com
Recruitment and Retention Officer
Contact for members working in the Private Sector, such as Private Care Homes and Voluntary Sector Organisations
07824 532966 firstname.lastname@example.org
Birchmere contact morning waste shift contact
Office Administrator and ERA accredited Rep
020 8921 5226 email@example.com
Riverside House West
Woolwich High Street
London SE18 6DN
If you need UNISON help or information fast and can’t contact your union rep or branch, UNISONdirect can help.
Lines are open from 6am to midnight on Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturday. Outside these times, you can leave an answerphone message or fill in the online form and UNISONdirect will call you back.
We can also be contact by textphone on 0800 0 967 968 (freephone).
Riverside House West
Woolwich High Street
If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact us:
020 8921 5226
or write to;
FREEPOST GREENWICH UNISON