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Profile Magazine for Prospect members •

Issue 4, October 2019



Standing up for our values WE LIVE in worrying and unpredictable political times. The UK is now set to head to the polls for the third general election in just over four years, a measure of how chaotic our politics has become. I have been deeply concerned about how important issues, including the economy, public services and the environment, have been neglected in the endless wrangling over Brexit. Perhaps even worse than this neglect has been the descent of our political discourse into a free-for-all of bluster, personality and rhetoric, with evidence, expertise and facts sidelined. It is perhaps too much to hope that this election will buck this trend and I fear we are set for one of the most unpleasant and polarising campaigns in living memory. That’s why it is more important than ever for independent organisations like Prospect to stand up for our values and our members. We are politically independent, but we will be scrutinising all parties on their promises – and their plans to deliver them. It is also essential that you are registered to vote so that you can have your say in this election – Whatever government emerges, the fundamental challenges facing us will still need to be addressed. Prospect stands ready to campaign on behalf of members to secure the changes we need.

Brexit deal and meeting with Michael Gove The prime minister’s new Brexit deal will be a major part of this campaign and workers’ rights have become central to arguments about whether the deal is a prelude to a deregulatory future and a bonfire of employment standards. Since the referendum, Prospect has consistently called for a legally binding guarantee that existing rights will be protected and that UK workers’ rights will keep pace with those in the EU. In mid-October I was able to put some of our concerns directly to Michael Gove. His assurances, and the prime minister’s promises, simply do not match up to what is in the withdrawal bill. When I referenced my exchanges with Michael Gove, my Twitter timeline was full of both supportive and negative comments. What struck me most was that we have a lot to do to remind people of where their rights have come from – and where they may go post-Brexit. I hope we can all agree that however people voted in the referendum, we should not accept regressive employment laws and we can do better than trading on a race to the bottom after Brexit. We will continue to do all we can to represent our members’ interests and put our points to politicians, Prospect • Profile – October 2019

whatever party they are from, without fear or favour. And most of all sticking to the substance, because in this debate, facts matter.

Prospect General Secretary Follow Mike on Twitter – @mikeclancy1

Profile magazine Editor: Marie McGrath

‘We are politically independent, but we will be scrutinising all parties on their promises – and their plans to deliver them’

Reports: Boc Ly, Tom Railton Design and origination: Simon Crosby Nick Linsdell Beth Barrows Published by: Prospect New Prospect House 8 Leake Street London SE1 7NN Printers: Walstead UK (Peterborough) ISSN: 1477-6383 Advertising: Space Marketing Ltd 10 Clayfield Mews Newcomen Road Tunbridge Wells Kent TN4 9PA ✆ 01892 677740 email: Davidh@ Change of name, address or employment details: Member Contact Centre ✆ 0300 600 1878 email: membership@ Acceptance of advertisements does not imply recommend­ation on the part of the union. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Prospect.



Union week: time to tell your stories and recruit colleagues PROSPECT WILL hold its fourth

most trusted people to do this are

annual Union Week from 9-17

their own colleagues.”


To support branches in their

The aim is for every Prospect

efforts, we will be offering new joiners

workplace to be engaged in recruiting

their first three months’ membership

more members to the union.

for free.

The theme for these efforts will

At the same time, members who

be #WeAreProspect, highlighting the

recruit a colleague can benefit from a

diversity of jobs that our members do.

£10 shopping voucher or donation to

At the same time, it will challenge

one of Prospect’s charities.

the stereotype that trade union

Members and reps interested in

membership is only for those in

promoting events can find resources

traditional jobs or industries.


Sam Gipson, Prospect’s senior

■■ Keep an eye on our social media channels for a new project showcasing the fascinating jobs our members do

organiser said: “The more members we have, the more power we have when negotiating and campaigning. “That’s why Union Week is so important in building a strong and active union. “We are one of the fastest growing in the UK. But we also know that we must recruit lots of new people every

involved/union-week/. These include templates for posters and newsletters to promote workplace events as well as flyers that can be downloaded and printed to give to colleagues. We will also be launching a number of short videos on our social media channels telling the stories of Prospect workspaces.

representatives from a range of

“Often the main reason people say

different backgrounds, and the work

year as members retire and move on,

they haven’t joined is because no-one

they do representing colleagues and

and new potential members join our

has asked them. And we know the

making work better.

Campaigning to end period poverty FIND OUT how three young women in Glasgow persuaded more than 100 football clubs to provide free period products at their grounds

From Belfast to Tolpuddle

PROSPECT AND Bectu launched new websites in October. Our old websites were outdated, clunky and cluttered. They didn’t follow best practice on user experience, accessibility

digital communications on the

or search engine optimisation.

websites and beyond.

• •

On the new websites, we’ve:

Some content, including your

streamlined the number of

member login area, remain on

channel and Instagram

menu options to make them

the old platforms so we plan to

accounts, which will strengthen

easier to navigate

improve these and incorporate

our social media presence.

cleaned up the designs to

them into the new sites.

ensure they adhere to our

Now we have the solid

We’re also trialling new tools to help us organise and

new brand – launched in

platform of the websites, you’ll

campaign better – and you’ll

September, and

hopefully see an improvement

hear about those soon.

designed them so they

in the content, too, with more

are easy to use for people

ways for you to get involved and

to be the best trade union on

with cognitive or physical

more stories from our 145,000

digital platforms. We hope you’ll


members – all of whom have

join us on this journey.

However, our work doesn’t stop now. The launch was a first step in a bigger plan to improve our

unique and fascinating stories. Beyond the website, we’re also launching new YouTube

This is all part of our plan


Prospect • Profile – October 2019

TWO REPS in the National Trust drove from Belfast to Tolpuddle in a camper van called Bubba. Read their diary here: tolpuddle-road-trip

New websites first step on our digital journey



Scottish scientists meet deputy first minister about proposed job cuts PROSPECT REPS at the James Hutton Institute met Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, to discuss the proposed redundancies at the Institute, the impact on staff and the organisation and the financial challenges it faces. Swinney said it was a valuable meeting and he agreed to meet again after further dialogue with the Scottish Government and JHI management. Management at the Institute announced a consultation on a redundancy and restructuring programme that is expected to lead to a significant job cuts in September.

Science Museum Group members stand up for fair pay PROSPECT MEMBERS in the Science Museum Group took industrial action after

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

The James Hutton Institute is a well-respected and globally recognised research organisation delivering fundamental and applied science to drive the sustainable use of land and natural resources. The job losses will affect staff at the Institute’s Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh sites. Prospect negotiator Ian Perth said: “It’s always heartening to engage with a senior politician who has a serious grasp of detail and genuine concern for our members. “Prospect’s priority is to seek to protect our members from compulsory redundancies and to ensure that all those who remain in the Institute will remain on a sustainable basis. “We welcome the employer’s decision to initially open a voluntary register and to offer enhanced redundancy terms for those who are attracted by voluntary exit.” Perth also pointed out that in 2016, staff made a £1.7m annual contribution to the organisation’s finances by agreeing to significant pension changes and giving up their membership of the civil service defined benefit scheme. The institute, which is primarily funded by the Scottish Government to carry out research on its behalf, has suffered significant budget cuts in recent years.

Branch rep Luke Jackson, who works at

management imposed a 1.5% pay rise on

the Science Museum, told us how 10 years

most, and continues to pay below the Real

of real terms pay cuts were affecting the

Living Wage.


Members took six days

■■ John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland (left) with (l-r) Katherine Preedy, JHI rep; Mark Young, JHI branch co-chair; Ian Perth, Prospect negotiator; Joshua Msika, JHI branch co-chair; Linda Ford, JHI branch equalities rep

is twice my salary.”

“We have massive problems with

of action short of a strike

turnover here. A third of our colleagues

followed by a one-day

leave every year which makes it really

strike in August. This was

difficult for people to stay in their projects

followed by a further

and their jobs, and it’s really bad for

strike on 23 October.

morale,” Luke said.

Both strike days were

“We all love our jobs but so many people

well observed and drew

just feel that they can’t afford to work here

vocal crowds with some really creative

any more or that our work is not valued,” he

placards. Local politicians expressed their


support and Prospect general secretary

The strikes have already led to a

Mike Clancy spoke to members outside the

commitment from management to pay the

Science Museum on both occasions.

Real Living Wage next year – but it has not

Alexa Phillips, who works at the Science Museum collections facility at Blythe House, said one of the main reasons she

moved on this year’s pay settlement, so the dispute continues. Prospect members work in a wide

was striking was the inequity between

range of roles and functions across the

wages at the top and bottom.

organisation: conservators, curators,

Alexa said: “I’m here today because

collections and exhibitions, library and

there are people who work at the museum

archive, visitor

who earn less than the Living Wage and


there are directors at the museum who have


consistently given themselves pay rises.”

estates, and

She also pointed out that “the director


got a £20,000-25,000 bonus last year which


■■ Members took action at the Science Museum, London with Blythe House, West London (top and right); National Science and Media Museum – Bradford; Museum of Science and Industry – Manchester (below); National Railway Museum – York (top inset); National Collections Centre – Wroughton, Wiltshire



Brexit developments and the implications for Prospect BT announces redundancies in Enterprise Service

TWO MAJOR developments on Brexit, and

MORE THAN 500 staff, agency workers and contractors in BT’s Enterprise Service are facing redundancy from 31 March 2020. BT’s change proposals affect 171 managers, of which 56 are potentially at risk of redundancy across Enterprise Service. BT is also proposing to withdraw from 41 sites and change the way the work is delivered. Prospect negotiator Sue Bucksey said: “We understand the commercial realities facing Enterprise – but we have huge concerns about the impact on our members and the implications for BT’s customers. “Our aim during the collective consultation is to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies, as we were mandated to do by our conference. “We will work with BT, as we have successfully done in the past, to ensure that the reorganisation policy is applied in order to mitigate potential redundancies. “This includes redeployment, retraining and reskilling, voluntary paid leavers, recruitment slowdown and freezes, contractor and agency displacement and rebalancing workloads,” Bucksey added. BT Enterprise sells communications and IT services to around 1.2m businesses and public sector organisations in the UK and Republic of Ireland and provides network products and services to more than 1,400 communication providers operating in Britain.

immediate threat of a no deal Brexit which

on rights, regulations and standards.

the impending UK general election, will

Mike Clancy met Cabinet minister

affect Prospect members.

Michael Gove on the morning the deal

The first is that the prime minister has

was agreed. Clancy was not reassured

agreed to extend the UK’s membership of

by the answers he received on the

the European Union until 31 January 2020.

future of employment rights in the UK

This is a welcome reprieve from the

if the deal is passed. His fears appeared to be

Prospect has consistently argued is the

confirmed by a document which was

worst possible outcome for members.

leaked to the Financial Times.

“Our members in the frontline of no deal

The leaked paper suggested that

preparations, for example those working

the government believes there is

in areas like plant and animal imports, or

considerable scope to diverge from

motorway management, would have faced

the EU on employment rights and

huge pressures if we left the EU without a deal,” said general secretary Mike Clancy. The second development is the new Brexit agreement negotiated between the government and the EU. The new, highly convoluted solution to the issue of the border arrangement in Northern Ireland has been the focus of much attention – but there are other areas that deserve scrutiny.

“Overall I can only conclude that this deal represents a major backwards step for members’ interests” ■■ Clancy

Workers’ rights

other regulations after Brexit, despite its pledge to maintain a “level playing field” in the prime minister’s latest deal. “The government could quite easily dispel the concerns about employment rights by giving the commitments

sought by unions like Prospect. “Workers’ rights must be

In particular, Prospect is deeply concerned

underpinned by strong international

that the government’s deal is a roadmap to

guarantees and a court capable of

a much more distant relationship with the

enforcing them. Overall I can only

EU in the future, with a sharp downgrade

conclude that this deal represents

of the ‘level playing field’ arrangements

a major backwards step for our

designed to prevent a race to the bottom

members’ interests,” added Clancy.

Prospect’s traffic officers proved right on Smart motorways “I don’t think we will be building any more dynamic hard shoulder smart motorways.” His statement came almost three years after the same committee said that the government should not proceed with ‘all lane running’ schemes while major safety concerns exist. As Prospect represents members working as Traffic Officers on the motorway network, the union submitted written evidence to the original consultation in 2016. The committee’s MPs then invited Prospect reps to give oral evidence on the plans. Prospect said it was

concerned about the safety of its traffic officers and the public. In particular, it raised: ●● the lack of public knowledge of the all lane running system, and the new signage that goes with it ●● the number and places of refuges for broken down cars and ●● the efficiency of the technology being introduced.

■■ You can find Prospect’s evidence at

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

THE HEAD of Highways England has said that Smart motorways, which use a hard shoulder at busy times, are “too complicated for people to use”. Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan told the Commons transport select committee in October that drivers were confused about when they could use the hard shoulder and when it is closed. “Some hard shoulders on dynamic smart motorways are only open to running traffic during the morning and evening peaks, but this catches out some drivers when their routine changes,” Mr O’Sullivan told MPs.



MORE THAN eight in ten (82%) air traffic services staff in Highlands and Islands Airports said the company’s current strategy would make them more likely to consider employment offers outside of HIAL. Young members in particular said that the project made them more likely to consider employment outside the company. That was one of the key results of a Prospect survey on HIAL’s remote towers project and to find out if members’ attitudes to the project had changed over the past 18 months.  HIAL is proposing to centralise its air traffic control facilities across seven airports in one new facility in Inverness as part of a wider airspace modernisation programme. Air traffic control would be delivered by controllers viewing images and other data transmitted from cameras and radar at each airport to the centre in Inverness. The current air traffic control towers at Inverness, Dundee, Wick, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway and Benbecula would close. The remaining four airports at Campbeltown, Tiree, Barra and Islay do not have air traffic controllers and are unaffected. Remote tower technology has not yet been deployed within any commercial airport in the UK though a similar system is being planned for

Highlands and Islands Airports’ strategy alienates staff ■■ Above, Sumburgh air traffic control tower under threat of closure

London City Airport. In the Prospect survey, six in ten respondents said they would not

same number said they were not sure or preferred not to say.

HIAL’s own reports show that this approach would be cheaper and far

Almost nine in ten respondents (86%) supported modernisation of

easier to deliver. The proposals have almost

air traffic control in HIAL – including

no support from staff and run

upgrading facilities and introducing

against Scottish ministerial policy

surveillance, data processing and

of protecting employment in the

controlled airspace.

Highlands and Islands.

Prospect has argued from the

Highlands and Islands Airports

relocate or commute if centralisation

outset that the company’s approach

Limited is a private limited

went ahead.

is wrong and that rather than

company, 100% owned by Scottish

centralising, they should be seeking to

ministers. It is responsible for

relocate if the offer was right; 11%

install the new technology within the

managing and operating eleven

said they would commute and the

existing tower infrastructure.


Only two in ten said they would

Unions forced to remind Care Quality Commission of its obligations to staff

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

TRADE UNIONS in the Care Quality Commission had to take the organisation to task for failing to engage with them on changes to broadband provision for homeworkers. The unions’ recognition agreement with CQC requires the organisation to negotiate any changes to terms and conditions with them. But CQC failed to

engage with the unions before signing off a detrimental proposal on broadband provision. The unions pointed out that the requirement on CQC to provide these services so that staff can carry out their home working roles is set out in a large number of individuals’ contracts of employment. All five trade unions wrote to CQC expressing their concern over the

proposed changes. As a result, CQC has offered to start a formal, six-week consultation process with the joint trade unions. The consultation started on 28 October Prospect negotiator Rose Willis said: “We welcome this move from the CQC which was only achieved with the support of all members and trade unions working together.”

Disease surveillance warning for Scotland PROSPECT CALLED on Scotland’s Rural College and the Scottish Government to urgently review proposals to close regional post-mortem facilities resulting in the loss of key scientific, research and analytical expertise vital for disease control. uk/news/id/2019/01268

Reports from the TUC PROSPECT MADE the case for a duty on employers to bargain with their workers at the Trades Union Congress in September. You can find reports on the union’s contributions to the debates at browse/topic/tuc


SONI members’ charity donation

Prospect launches new charity partnerships PROSPECT’S PARTNERSHIP with the Trussell Trust and War Child charities was officially launched at a national executive committee meeting at the end of September. Representatives from both charities came along to talk about their work and suggest how branches and members can get involved.

War Child One in six children live in areas of the world affected by conflict. War Child’s

■■ Above, Ele Wade (Prospect vice president) and Craig Marshall (Prospect president) present Chinua Johnson (War Child) with the union’s donation of £25,000 ■■ Left, Trussell Trust food bank voulunteer

mission is to respond to those conflicts and help children in those communities to recover and rebuild their lives. “We help keep them safe, give them an education, and equip them with skills for the future,” partnership executive Louise James told the committee. The charity works in nine countries in the Middle East and Central Africa. In 2018, it reached 123,000 children. War Child was one of the first

You can see all of War Child’s

“Prospect and the Trussell Trust

videos at:

is a good match because your


values match ours. We are both

Trussell Trust

about standing up for people’s rights and working for the greater

With more than 1,200 food banks,

good of everybody,” said Alice

the Trussell Trust has the largest

Hudson, community and events

network of food banks in the UK.

fundraising assistant.

It provides emergency food

Alice urged NEC members to

and additional support services,

talk to colleagues to find out if

depending on need, in each local

there are events that they would

agencies allowed to operate in

area eg job clubs, debt advice and

like to see.

Yemen where the humanitarian

holiday clubs.

crisis is urgent and people are struggling to find food and shelter. Louise explained that £50,000

It also campaigns to challenge the structural issues behind

poverty and hunger. Its ultimate


will provide enough money to

aim is to create long-term change

refurbish and provide facilities for

so that its services are no longer

six schools in Yemen.


Watch an inspiring video,

You can find your local food bank on the website – www.

2018 was a record year for the

When Batman visited a refugee

Trust which gave out 1.6m three-

camp –

day food supplies – an 18.8%


increase on the previous year.

Help strengthen your union IF EVERY Prospect member recruited one colleague to the union, we would not only double our membership, but also achieve greater influence with local management and employers. Another bonus is that for every colleague you recruit, you can choose one of the following incentives: • £10 Lifestyle voucher • £10 donation to our benevolent fund, which helps members in financial difficulty • £10 donation to Help for Heroes, Trussell Trust or War Child. ■■ Download a leaflet from

Fundraising ideas • •

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

PROSPECT MEMBERS at SONI, which operates the electricity grid in Northern Ireland, made a donation to charity as a way of thanking their full-time negotiator for her support during difficult pay negotiations with the company. The members collected £520 as a thank you to Angela Moffatt and she rounded it up to £550. The money went to Angela’s favourite charity, Rock2Recovery, which provides coaching sessions, events and workshops, a helpline and peer support for Irish and British military personnel and emergency services workers. Moffatt said: “This was a thoughtful and generous thank you from members following a complex dispute with the employer that was resolved to the benefit of all parties. “Rock2Recovery fights against stress in the military and emergency services. They support the most vulnerable veterans and their families in the UK and Ireland.” *Rock2Recovery was founded by two Royal Marines personnel who were medically discharged after diagnoses of stress illness and brain injury.




British Museum members to be balloted on pay offer PROSPECT IS balloting all members

■■ Above, British Museum staff on strike in 2008

at the British Museum on their pay offer for 2019. The offer was rejected at a members’ meeting on 17 October and a consultative ballot will close on

•  a 1.5% increase in the pay band

Pay bands •  2.5% consolidated pay increase for the band maximum)

bands at the same salary from 31 March 2019 and receive the relevant award offered to those within the pay bands.

Pay spines (closed pay scale from 2015)

•  all staff will receive salary and

allowances equivalent to at least £10.55 an hour (London Living Wage).

all staff currently below the spine

Prospect negotiator Brian Harris said:

maximum – this would represent a 2%

“At a well-attended meeting, members

step for most staff

voted to reject the offer and open a

2019, or reaching the maximum

•  a 2.5% increase in the pay band

can voluntarily transfer into pay

Lowest paid

•  staff at the maximum on 31 March

all staff (capped for those reaching

•  all other staff within the pay spines


•  one progression increment for

4 November. The offer includes:


ballot of the full membership in the museum.

on 1 April 2019 with a less than


•  individuals at, or approaching, the

“The offer falls short of

1.5% consolidated increase, will

expectations and will yet again see

automatically move from the pay

members’ spending power decrease.

band maximum will have the balance

spines into the pay bands and receive

Pay awards have been below inflation

of the 2.5% increase paid as a one-off,

the relevant pay band increase from

for many years and this year’s award

non-consolidated amount

31 March 2019

follows the same pattern.”

National Galleries of Scotland increase delivers 3-4%

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

MEMBERS IN the National Galleries of Scotland have accepted a pay offer which delivers a minimum 3% increase for the majority of staff – and 4% for a significant number of them. The deal retains a minimum underpin for the lowest paid and an additional non-consolidated payment for those who do not receive progression payments. The main elements of the offer include: • a 3% cost of living rise plus a matrix progression or spot rate increase for Bands 8-4a • a 2% cost of living rise plus a matrix progression increase

• • •

for Bands 3-SMT £1,600 cost of living rise for those earning more than £80,000 1% non-consolidated payment for those at the maximum of their pay band £750 minimum increase for the lowest paid

an additional privilege holiday in recognition of St Andrew’s Day • no compulsory redundancy guarantee extended to March 2020. Prospect negotiator Jane Rose welcomed the offer but said that more needed to be done to

address the lower paid. “We are hopeful of making progress on achieving Living Wage accreditation, but we believe that this needs to be set at £10 an hour to make a real difference. “More also needs to be done to restore levels of earnings right across the pay bands following years of real terms pay cuts. Importantly we must also ensure that the increased employer pension contributions are fully funded at NGS for future budgets.” The increase will be made in November salaries, backdated to 1 April.



Museum of London archaeologists dig in on pay PROSPECT MEMBERS at Museum of London Archaeology have voted to take industrial action over pay and management’s failure to implement a pay structure at the end of October. MOLA executive managers imposed a 2.5% pay award in June – even though it had been rejected by union members who have been suffering financial hardship due to low pay. The dispute also concerns a pay structure that MOLA executive management promised would be in place by April 2019. Management made the undertaking to settle an industrial dispute last year, but reneged on their commitment. If the pay structure had been in place as promised, staff would have received an incremental rise in addition to a cost of living award. Prospect negotiator, Andy Bye, said: “MOLA is in crisis. Experienced staff are leaving and going to its main competitor which pays archaeologists £2,000 more a year. “Executive managers have ignored the views of staff and the impact their pay policy and management style is having on MOLA as a whole.

■■ Museum of London staff at Barbican and Docklands take action

Museum of London staff strike over pay PROSPECT MEMBERS at the Museum of London took industrial action at the end of October after the museum imposed a 1.5% pay increase. This latest below-inflation pay rise means that Museum of London workers have seen their pay cut by 6% in real terms since 2013. Over this time, the gap between the highest and the lowest paid in the

“Our members at the Museum of London have been struggling with below-inflation pay rises for years”

organisation has grown.

for years. “The turnout and size of the vote in favour of industrial action showed just how strongly they feel about this. “The museum will claim that, with performance

pay, its offer keeps pace with inflation.

The director’s salary has increased

But a bonus should give people the

by 4.7% in real terms and the number

possibility of improving their quality

of employees earning more than

of life, not simply bring them up to

£100,000 a year has doubled.

the level they need to survive,” Brown

Prospect negotiator Sharon Brown,


said: “Our members at the Museum of London have been struggling with

Pay InBrief October pay bulletin – includes data on inflation, earnings and pay settlements. You can download it from download/2019/01592

n n

Jersey civil servants reject pay offer – Prospect’s Jersey Civil

The Museum of London covers two sites at the Barbican and Docklands.

Service Association members have voted to reject their employer’s pay offer for 2018, 2019 and 2020. http://


Historic Environment Scotland – pay deal includes uplifting all salary scales above £25,000 and under £36,500 by 3%. Read the full details at

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

“If management doesn’t start listening and paying a fair wage, it’s hard to see how MOLA can continue to operate competitively.” MOLA undertakes archaeological work on behalf of clients in London and further afield. It has around 300 staff. A recent report commissioned by the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers estimated that archaeologists save the construction industry £1.3bn a year, and that commercial archaeology contributes £218m to the economy.

below-inflation pay rises



Indicative ballot on strike action at Natural England

Nuclear regulators’ anger at imposed pay offer


MORALE AT Natural England has hit rock bottom and reps are gearing up to ballot members on industrial action after the organisation imposed a 2% pay increase. This marks the ninth year of damaging pay restraint in the organisation. The national Joint Union Forum said the overall award would not provide any meaningful change to pay progression, the gender pay gap, equal pay, historical harmonisation and parity with the rest of the environment, food and rural affairs group. The unions suggested alternative ways of improving the offer eg by reducing the working week to 36 hours. But this was rebuffed as Treasury rules would classify it as a cost.

“We want a longer-term trajectory to start to make up the losses from 10 years of pay restraint”

Natural England ultimately said no further movement was possible on the 2%. The settlement is effectively the

The unions are now going to concentrate their efforts on lobbying the purse holders – Defra and the Treasury. Prospect branch chair David Heaver said: “We want more than a one-off payment to keep members quiet. We want the whole pay framework to be revised and we want better benchmarking across the EFRA family. “But above all, we want a longerterm trajectory to start to make up the losses from 10 years of pay restraint.”

• •

result of successive core funding reductions handed down by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

limited room for manoeuvre, with anything more for staff having to be self-funded from programme budgets.

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

EA members continue industrial action MEMBERS IN the Environment Agency have agreed to continue industrial action over their 2018 pay offer. Prospect is asking members to withdraw from incident response rotas between 15.00 and 09.00 Friday night/Saturday morning on a weekly basis from 1 November until 30 November. Negotiator Kevin Warden wrote to EA’s chief executive Sir James Bevan on 17 October setting out the times and dates of the new periods of action. ■■

a consolidated pay rise for all staff, in line with cost of living, ie CPI/RPI pay scale maxima and minima to rise in line with the cost of living and restore parity with the wider

These financial restrictions placed upon NE management have severely

Prospect’s pay claim includes:

EFRA family an additional progression increase for people below the maximum, so they can reach it in a reasonable

timescale agreement on a new system which reinstates structural progression through the pay scales.

PROSPECT IS consulting members in the Office for Nuclear Regulation on whether they are prepared to take action over their pay offer for 2019. Prospect and PCS members rejected the offer in a ballot held in late July/early August. But ONR imposed the offer without re-engaging with the unions, on 14 August. Unions expressed their disappointment and asked for a meeting with the chief executive. The meeting, which will be held on 8 November, will explore whether there are any avenues of negotiation without further action from members. Prospect negotiator Jez Stewart said: “It is clear that there is significant disquiet at the offer – and the fact that it was imposed. “Branch reps want to find out what members are prepared to do, strike action or action short of a strike, so that we can bring this message to our meeting on 8 November.” ONR regulates safety and security at 37 nuclear licensed sites in the UK.

Guernsey civil servants reject 2.4% PROSPECT’S CIVIL service members in Guernsey have rejected their pay offer for 2019. In the ballot, which closed on 18 October, 93% voted against the revised offer of 2.4%. The union’s negotiators Ben Middleton and Stephen Langford said: “This vote, and the significant turnout, send a clear message that Prospect members are not prepared to be treated as the poor cousins of

other pay groups when they are all are facing the same increases in dayto-day living expenses. “We will be seeking further talks. If those are not successful we will have to invoke dispute resolution mechanisms. However, we can’t rule out returning to members for an indicative ballot on some form of industrial action if we don’t receive an improved offer.”


Highways England takes wrong turn on pay


own the… d g in o g – rd a w a y a 1% p

d a o r g n o r W 1%


imposing a Highways England is saying that’s 9 201 1% pay award in . ord aff can all it cutive’s pay Last year the Chief Exe re than mo to increased by 13% 00. 0,0 £45

hways It’s time all staff in Hig y increase. pa r pe pro England got a

Say ‘Yes’

PROSPECT IS balloting its members in Highways England on industrial action after the organisation imposed a 1% pay award on its staff.

ase to a proper pay incre

Highways England will be one of the key agencies on the frontline of delivering Brexit, especially if the UK leaves without a deal. With RPI inflation currently at 2.8%, the imposed deal represents a further real-terms cut to pay,

Prospect negotiator Nick Radiven

following on from many years of

said: “We are not aware of any other

below-inflation pay awards for most

organisation covered by the pay remit


guidance which has offered less than

Some staff have not had a pay increase for five years, which

2%, while many have submitted a business case for a higher increase.

also means no increase to their pensionable pay. This is in stark contrast to the chief

“Highways England could and should have submitted a business case for a bigger pay award. Instead it has

executive who last year received a

made the lowest pay award it could

13% increase to his overall package,

and has refused to negotiate with the

bringing it to £456,727.

unions to try and reach an agreement

Since 2013, the number of people

on pay.

earning more than £100,000 has also

“With our members at the

increased from six to 63 at a cost of

forefront of preparing for Brexit, and


responsible for delivering many key

“We now feel the only way we can achieve a fair pay settlement is by balloting members on industrial action”

aspects of it, it is especially galling to be treated in this way. “We do not want to take industrial action. “But given Highways England’s refusal over a number of years to try to reach agreement on decent pay, we now feel the only way we can achieve a fair pay settlement is by balloting members on industrial action.” Highways England is covered by the government’s pay remit guidance which puts a 2% upper limit on pay rises this year, with the qualifier that higher rises may be agreed if a suitable business case is put forward.

Long haul to final pay offer at Heathrow Airport four ballots, members at Heathrow

Airport Limited have finally accepted a pay offer from their employer. The 30-month deal includes:

a £175 consolidated increase on

a 4% increase on base pay, or

base pay from 1 July 2019 £1,000, whichever is the greater, on 1 January 2020 a 4% increase on base pay (no underpin) on 1 January 2021

3% and 4% consolidated increases to A15 shift payment from July 2019 and January 2020

• • • •

and 2021

All the relevant parties will agree the

maternity pay increased from 18

terms of reference for the two reviews.

to 20 weeks

Local reps were neutral in the

paternity pay increased from one

three previous ballots, but they

to two weeks’ full pay

recommended that members accept

a review of rosters, shifts, shift

the final offer because they believed

allowances and safety implications

it was the best that could be achieved

a review of engineering skills-

by negotiation and was one of the

based pay.

best settlements in the industry.

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

AFTER LENGTHY negotiations and


Workplace safety

Better work, better lives.

Boc Ly talks to safety reps who are making a difference in their workplaces.

Sue Walker Raising the profile at the Office for National Statistics SUE WALKER started working for the

roads and meeting strangers in their

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

own homes – is potentially hazardous

about five years ago and knew, almost

enough already.

immediately, that things needed to change. As a field interviewer, her role involves driving to strangers’ homes, perhaps in rural and remote locations,

Even when the ONS is trying to help, it doesn’t necessarily make things better. “They have bought in an incredible amount of new technology,” Sue says. “For example, there is a sat-nav

and talking to them face-to-face to

system on our phones. I was sent to a

complete the surveys, which are the

place a short distance from my home,

lifeblood of the ONS.

but it was trying to take me via Exeter,

“You have no idea what you’re

and I live in Hampshire. Some have

letting yourself in for. Some people are

been sent via the USA! It’s not fit for

just not that nice and they may have


dangerous dogs. But you’re expected

If they feel unsafe, field

to cope by yourself with whatever is

interviewers can access a panic alarm

behind the door,” she says.

system. However, Wi-fi and mobile

“For a government organisation,

data blind spots render it useless. Sue

I was surprised the way people were

also notes, drily, that not using the

managed and what they were expected

panic alarm is a disciplinary offence.

to put up with.” Sue, who describes herself as semi-

Many of the ONS field interviewing force are older, part-time workers and

retired and ‘very part-time’ for the

less confident with new technology,

ONS, has raised a number of issues

which exacerbates the general

with management.


She has considerable career

Technology is a big stressor, says

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

experience of employment matters,

Sue, and it’s ‘hounding’ some people

including holding senior management

out of the job and, because of the

positions in the public sector, as

stress, making others ill. She has heard

a head of human resources, and

that the turnover is more than 20%,

working as a consultant for the Local

and could even be as high as 30%.

Government Association. However, she knows that it might

“When I was working in other organisations, if we had a 20% turnover

not be so easy for others to speak out

we wouldn’t be able to run. When you

or be aware of their rights.

start getting to 10% then you're going

The answer, of course, was to join Prospect and Susan is now a health and safety rep for the ONS branch.

Field work

to have trouble getting things done.”

Better data One of Susan’s greatest concerns is, ironically for a statistical organisation,

The very nature of the job – working

lack of reporting and information.

alone, driving through unfamiliar

She believes that many incidents, such

Workplace safety

“ Before we can start solving the problems, we need better information about what’s actually happening ”

Penny Oliver Leading the way in health and safety

management, chaired by the chief finance officer. “When we first started, assurance

think we could have started BeeSafe.

a nuclear engineering,

“I would like to give the company

management and

credit for its work. Our assurance head

decommissioning group,

and CEO leads on safety at our French

would know a thing or two

parent company meetings,” she says.

Baker says the branch has the best approach to health and safety that he

“We have definitely had some

team regularly meets with senior

encouraged us. Without them, I don’t

tripping over, are not being recorded.

for problems.

department, and the BeeSafe

Prospect’s branch at Nuvia,

as cars being damaged or people

more discussion about the potential

are funded by the company’s assurance

YOU WOULD expect that

Prospect officer Arron

“I can’t prove they are being under-

has been incredibly supportive. They

was very supportive and strongly

about health and safety.

reported but I would like there to be

Next, BeeSafe has plans to tackle neurodiversity and suicide prevention.

Science career

has seen. They’ve got awards to prove

Penny’s zeal for health and safety is

it too.

mirrored in her attitude to unions.

This year Nuvia won the Royal Society

“I joined when I started work, and I

for the Prevention of Accident’s (RoSPA)

can’t imagine people not wanting to join

top award for outstanding performance

a union. Health and safety has always

people leave because they’re not

in health and safety. Last year it won

been my key focus because health and

happy about going through the

ROSPA’s award for active workforce

safety is for everybody.”

door – if anyone is nervous about a

involvement in safety and health.

particular case then they can ask to

She knew that she wanted to work in

Such excellence did not happen

science from an early age. She joined the

be accompanied but it seems that

overnight. Penny Oliver, a Prospect

UK Atomic Energy Authority in 1976 as an

some managers do not facilitate this.

safety rep at Nuvia, has been on the

assistant scientific officer, where she got

journey since the beginning.

a grounding in areas such as chemistry,

“The field force is one of the worst affected because we’re out on the

She credits a pivotal visit to a

road and we go to people’s houses.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

But the office-based staff have their

conference in 2008, which led to a

responsibilities and former functions

own issues too.”

further visit to see ‘Safety First at

of the UKAEA have been spun-off into


the private sector. It was through such

With Prospect’s help, the profile of health and safety has been raised

“After we came back, we started

electronics and nuclear physics. Over the years, some of the

manoeuvrings, and through a transfer

considerably at the ONS, which has

a sub-committee called BeeSafe

between departments, that Penny

resulted in the number of safety reps

and looked at safety and wellbeing

found herself in her current role in Nuvia,

within the branch increasing by 14.

campaigns. A key thing we wanted was

specialising in protecting people from

to make sure that families and friends

ionising radiation.

“The idea is to get health and safety closer to the frontline so that people will feel that they can raise

were also included.” BeeSafe has run initiatives on safer

Her corporate customers are in industries where there is the use of, or

issues without sounding ridiculous.

driving, slips, trips and falls (not just

the risk of coming across, radioactive

They don’t always want to raise

in the office but at home too) cyber

materials. They are in diverse areas,

issues with their manager, because

bullying, mental health, healthier eating

such as security, agriculture, metallurgy

sometimes the manager is the cause

and one that has saved lives at least a

and instrument manufacturing.

of the problem.”

couple of lives.

Sue is quick to point out that the

“We project manage the customers

“We taught people how to do breast

and provide a service where we audit

job can be fun, and says that better

and testicular checks. We had models

them against the regulations. We

health and safety reporting and

with the tumours in. We also looked at

also provide training, which is a big

data will benefit the employer too.

prostate issues and skin cancer. We did

component of our job.”

If ONS is serious about increasing

urine tests and we had an occupational

productivity then it needs to examine

health nurse available for a chat.

the causes of high turnover, sickness

“People discovered they

The personal touch Beyond the BeeSafe campaigns, Penny

had illnesses that they

is aware that, sometimes, it’s just about

weren’t aware of, and one

“being there for someone

but we need to ask our employees the

of my colleagues ended up

to talk to, and trying to help them.

right questions. Someone might be

having a mastectomy when

off work with a bad back but is the

she found a tumour. A few

earlier this year. It wasn't as bad at my

underlying issue actually anxiety?

found they were diabetic.”

branch. We got people redeployed and

“We’re a statistical organisation

“This is where Prospect can help

The company awarded

“We had a round of redundancies

made sure they were kept informed.

because I suspect we’ve done this in

the team

other branches already. Before we

the Director’s award for

bombarded with social media and

can start solving the problems, we

their dedication and work

the nuclear family is fragmented. So

need better information about what’s

to help other staff.

you have to try your best with each

actually happening.”

Penny says Nuvia

“It’s so different now. We're

individual’s problems.”

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

and recruitment difficulties.




Prospect pay settlements Organisation (* imposed)

Headline increase

Effective date

Settlement length

Organisation (* imposed)

Headline increase

Effective date

Settlement length

ABL Alliance


Aug ‘19

One year

First Hydro Company


Apr ‘19

One year

AES Ballylumford


Jan ‘19

One year

Heathrow Airport Limited


July ‘19

Year 1 of 2



Apr ‘19

One year

National Portrait Gallery


Apr ‘19

One year

AMEC Energy - ex AMEC NNC


Jan ‘19

One year

Natural History Museum


Aug ‘19

One year

Babcock Naval Services


Aug ‘19

One year

Northern Lighthouse Board


Apr ‘18

One year

Babcock REME Training (Lyneham and Sultan)


Apr ‘19

One year

Rheidol Power Station


July ‘19

One year

BAE Systems Land Systems Weapons


Apr ‘19

One year

Rothamsted Research


Apr ‘19

One year

BMCS offshore, engineering & technical staff

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew *


Oct ‘19

One year


Apr ‘18

One year

Royal Parks


Sep ‘19

One year

Cavendish Nuclear


Apr ‘19

One year

Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission


Apr ‘19

One year



Apr ‘19

One year

Scottish Government


Apr ‘19

One year

Chatham House


Oct ‘19

One year

Scottish Prison Service


Apr ‘19

Year 1 of 3

Drax Power


Jan ‘19

Year 1 of 2



Aug ‘19

One year

DSRL (Dounreay)


Apr ‘19

Year 3 of 3

Scottish and Southern Energy*


Apr ‘19

Year 1 of 2

Electricity North West


Aug ‘19

One year

Western Power Distribution


Apr ‘19

Year 2 of 2

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

NOTES ABL Alliance: Agreement with Babcock to apply a minimum underpin of £800 separately to the Alliance offer. This represents a beneficial uplift for the lowest paid members in the Alliance who are Babcock employees.

AES Ballylumford: Linked to changes to terms and conditions for new starters; backdating of increases/ changed and improved T&Cs to interim promotees placed on much reduced T&Cs/pay levels. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board: Only applies to the MLCS Ltd section of the AHDB

bargaining unit, which is now separately owned by Vorenta Ltd and no longer under government pay restraint. Babcock REME Training (Lyneham and Sultan): Uplift to administration roles to £18,000 to bring them all into line with each other and external markets. Awaiting for the outcome of the contract

extension with the MOD. BMCS offshore, engineering and technical staff: First deal under totally new pay system with new progression system, new pay rates and new allowance structure. Cavendish Nuclear: Further increase of 0.25% from 1 October 2019.


CEFAS: Offer – 2% consolidated increase for all eligible staff plus 2% increase to band minima and maxima. Non-consolidated corporate bonus of 4% paid in July. Chatham House: Cost of living increase for anyone in post on 1 April and still in post on 1 October. Concerns over disparities in probation periods led to need for this clarification. Drax Power: Commitment to end all-salary contracts by 1 January 2021: these contracts offered higher base pensionable pay in return for flexible working. Talks concluded with an additional 0.2% in year two in return for changes to flexible working. Heathrow Airport Limited: Maternity and paternity leave increased. National Portrait Gallery: Offer. 1.5% increase to pay band minima and maxima from 1 April 2019. One day increase to annual leave (pro rata) for all staff, effective from January 2020. This is a consolidated increase to leave, the minimum leave entitlement now 27 days plus public holidays. Natural History Museum: Other cost items – £300 non-consolidated payment to all eligible staff. Marked improvement in management’s approach to negotiations this year, with some movement on the opening 2% budget. The non-consolidated bonus was in response to the very successful year for commercial income, which was well above targets. Northern Lighthouse Board: Other cost items – £956 nonconsolidated lump sum.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Imposed. All pay band maxima increased by 2.5%; pay band minima increased by between 2.75% and 6.25%; spot rate created for lowest pay grade. On-call allowance rates increased. A minimum of a 2.5% consolidated increase

for all eligible staff. Staff on contractual pay progression will receive 2%-3.2 % depending on grade. Royal Parks: Other cost items – £690 underpin; £1,000 non-consolidated team reward payment to all eligible staff. The underpin gives increases of between 4.4-8% for lower paid staff. There was significant movement on the non-consolidated award to recognise the staff contribution to a very successful year for The Royal Parks Scottish Government: Other cost items – 1% nonconsolidated payment to all staff on their band maximum. Scottish Prison Service: Imposed. 2% each year for those earning above £36,500; 6%, 4%, 4% in each year for those earning below £36,500. Progression is contractual so not included in headline figure. 1% non-consolidated payment each year for those not receiving progression. Increase in maternity leave, 2019 to 25 weeks; 2020 to 26 weeks. No compulsory redundancy for duration of offer. Offer very divisive as many Prospect members are above the £36,500 bracket. Offer overwhelmingly accepted by POA(S) and PCS but rejected by Prospect. Scotland’s Rural College: Offer broadly in line with Scottish Government pay policy, but applied differently delivering a better outcome. 3% on earnings up to and including £38,000 plus 1% on earnings above £38,000 plus agreed roadmap for a full review of terms and conditions.

Employers gear up for IR35 tax changes PRIVATE SECTOR employers are gearing up for changes in tax law in April 2020 that will affect workers providing services through their own limited companies. Under a provision commonly called IR35, HMRC can retrospectively claim tax where a worker operating through a personal service company (PSC) turns out to have been in an employment relationship with their engager. The liability for this unpaid employment tax currently rests with the PSC. But next April this will switch to the engager, so many employers are already examining their relationship with PSCs to ensure they are not at risk of IR35 tax claims from HMRC. Self-employed sole traders, not working through PSCs, are also affected. Engagers have always carried the liability for any unpaid employment tax owed by sole traders. Some employers decided to apply a status determination process to all freelance workers. As private sector companies assess the scale of changes they may need to make in April 2020, they could insist that

‘Many employers are already examining their relationship with PSCs to ensure they are not at risk’

workers switch to PAYE. This has caused confusion and anger for members. A worker’s employment status depends on the exact nature of the relationship with any engager or employer they are providing services to within their current contract. Self-employed status for PSC workers and sole traders does not automatically flow from their historic employment relationships with engagers, nor from the

fact that they have registered as self-employed with HMRC and have a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number.

Steps to take

Scottish and Southern Energy: 2% to all staff with a further 0.5% to those in the bottom half of each band in year one. 2.75% and a guarantee of progression payments in year two. The deal maintains collective bargaining across SSE group which was in danger of being split up at the start of the talks.

Prospect recommends that members obtain a Lorimer

Western Power Distribution: Increase linked to average headline RPI figure July December 2018 plus 0.5% subject to a minimum of 3%.

the checker’s questions and answers and re-run the test

letter. This is a document from HMRC confirming the circumstances in which the holder should be treated as selfemployed. Be careful if your engager wishes to use the HMRC Check Employment Status Online (CEST) – Prospect believes it is deeply flawed. If you run into problems with engagers over employment status, ask what steps were taken to reach a decision, and, in particular, whether CEST was used. If CEST was used, you can ask for the audit trail of yourself. If this produces a different result, start a discussion with your engager about your correct status. If an engager puts you on PAYE, seek advice from Prospect.

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

Rothamsted Research: Imposed. Organisation currently going through a deficit recovery programme and facing additional external funding challenges.



Civil service

Defending civil service impartiality •

CIVIL SERVANTS should not have to choose between obeying the law and serving the government of the day.

That was the key message from Prospect in a letter to the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill in mid-

September. The letter was sparked by the

set out the processes to be followed where civil servants raise concerns be clear that civil servants should never be asked or instructed to act in contravention of the law give a clear commitment that where civil servants raise

prime minister’s repeated refusal to

concerns in good faith, they will

confirm that he would abide by the

be supported and not subject

will of Parliament and Parliamentary

to detriment or disciplinary


action and their concerns will

Prospect deputy general secretary

be investigated and acted on

Garry Graham called on Sedwill


to give civil servants appropriate

The cabinet secretary responded in

guidance and support.

October to say he was “grateful to you

“Political impartiality, the ability to

for the public stance you have taken

provide evidence-based policy advice to ministers without fear nor favour, upholding the rule of law and serving the government of the day are at the core of what makes the civil service the envy of the world. “It is the job of civil servants to serve the government of the day. It is the job of the government to act lawfully. The prime minister has not

on this”.

‘It is the job of the government to act lawfully’

the government of the day,” Graham

He said the prime minister had set


out his commitment to the political

He asked the cabinet secretary to:

impartiality of the civil service and

ensure that the prime minister,

to the wider principles of public life

ministers and special advisers

in his foreword to the latest issue of

are familiar with the civil service

the ministerial code (



issue guidance to civil servants so

“While action in Parliament and

they are clear about their rights

the courts is inevitably controversial,

and responsibilities under the code

the Prime Minister and his colleagues

set out the processes and

have been clear throughout that, in

procedures for civil servants

all circumstances, the Government

who believe that they are being

will uphold the constitution, obey the

a position where there is a conflict

asked or instructed to act in

law and maintain the impartiality of

between obeying the law and serving

contravention of the code

the Civil Service,” Sedwill concluded.

demonstrated or explained how he plans to act in accordance with what is the settled will of Parliament. “No civil servant should be put in

Unions secure pledges from Speaker candidates on bullying and harassment

Prospect • Profile – May 2019

PROSPECT AND the FDA have secured pledges from the vast majority of candidates standing in the election for Commons Speaker to take action on bullying in Westminster. The unions urged the nine candidates to commit to fully implementing the recommendations of a hardhitting report on bullying and harassment by High Court judge Dame Laura Cox last year. The report found a “disturbing” and “pervasive’ culture in Westminster, and warned that a tradition of deference and silence had prevented victims from

speaking out It said that a small number of MPs were engaged in “predatory” conduct that was too often dismissed as harmless banter. Staff were subjected to “frequent sexual innuendos, lewd comments or sexual gestures”. After the report was published, Commons bosses agreed to open up historic cases to scrutiny. But they have so far stopped short of setting up a complaints system “entirely independent” of MPs to assess claims made against them. The letter from Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham and FDA

general secretary Dave Penman says: “As trade union leaders representing hundreds of parliamentary staff, we have consistently called for the full implementation of the recommendations made by Dame Laura Cox. “If you are successful in the contest to become the next

Speaker, you will have a central role in restoring this trust, not least by ensuring parliament has working practices and a working culture in keeping with its prominence as the heart of our democracy.” At the time of going to press, eight of the nine candidates had responded, with all of the frontrunners pledging to implement the reforms and consult unions. The election for Speaker is due to occur on 4 November but may be delayed due to the general election.

■■ Cox report into the bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff – cox-report ■■ Download a Zip file with all the responses from candidates for Speaker: https://library.prospect.

Member profile



Public puts trust in scientists and engineers

Light source engineer bangs the drum for curiosity Chris Charleworth is an engineer at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire. Diamond is the UK’s national synchrotron light source A SYNCHROTRON is like a giant microscope that lets scientists see right down to the atomic level of substances. They do this by generating high intensity X-ray light using a particle accelerator. Chris works on and runs various projects to build new facilities for scientists to use in their research. “Sometimes it’s something small like helping one of our users trigger a detector to collect data by fitting a laser sensor; other times it’s being part of a large team to build a whole new beamline,” he says. Beamlines are where people come

‘I think that the biggest challenge for young workers is seeing a pathway to the goal’

to do research.

was an engineer for many years.” His advice for an 11-yearold interested in science is to keep asking why and how. “Be curious about the world around you. Don’t let anyone discourage you from asking those questions. “Scientists and engineers investigate everything and invent new things and you could be one of them. You can do anything, the only limit is what you can see yourself doing.” Being a young worker can be a challenge at times, says Chris. “I’ve been luckier than some, I’ve had managers who can see my potential

He says the best thing about his job

and have been willing to give me more

is the variety of tasks he undertakes.

freedom to act and opportunity to

“In some ways many things are similar,

take on more responsibilities.

but when I look a little more deeply at

“I think that the biggest challenge

what my scientific colleagues want to

for young workers is seeing a pathway

do it is just so interesting.

to the goal you may have for yourself.

“The most frustrating thing is when

“Questions like: what skills do I need to develop and how can I best

and you need a decision on what to

develop them can be harder to answer

do first.

simply due to relative inexperience.”

Chris always had an interest in

Chris first joined the union after

building and fixing things. “Even in

conversations with his local reps.

nursery I had to be pulled away from

“I had an interest in health and


for my union work, but helps to develop those soft skills that are required to progress in my career too.”

building sets to learn to read, over

safety and wanted to become more

time that turned into an interest in

involved. Since then I’ve also taken

spare time. “I’m a competitive archer


on more work for the union as a

and I’m also training to be an archery

committee member.

judge (similar to a football referee).

“I knew as a child what I wanted to be, I just didn’t know the specific type of engineer. I suppose my father has been a great influence to me as he

■■ Read more about Chris at diamond-chris

“Prospect has given me access to

Chris keeps himself quite busy in his

I also enjoy kayaking and canoeing

training that I wouldn’t have been able

– I only started last year but I love

to access otherwise. It’s not just useful

spending time on the water.”

Prospect • Profile – May 2019

there are lots of competing priorities

POLITICAL RHETORIC and media commentary about public distrust in experts is not borne out by facts or analysis. That was one of the findings in the longest-running poll on trust in professions in Britain – the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index. In a list of 25 professions, engineers and scientists ranked fourth and sixth in terms of public trust: • 87% of the public trusted that engineers generally tell the truth • 85% of the public trusted that scientists generally tell the truth. The figures contrasted sharply with the scorings for politicians: • 22% of respondents generally trusted government ministers to tell the truth, with 19% for politicians generally. Last year was the first time that engineers were included in the index. Trust levels in this profession were highest among those with degree level qualifications (91%) and those in social group AB (high managerial, administrative or professional and intermediate managerial, administrative or professional respectively). Public trust in civil servants saw the strongest increase across the Veracity Index – up by 37% since 1983. Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “Although some politicians have questioned the importance of experts and public trust in them, this evidence proves them wrong. “The study reinforced the important role of scientists and engineers in developing evidencebased policy. “We will be using the report to champion what our members do and the fundamental contribution they make to society.”


Civil service

Stalemate on Ministry of Defence pay UNIONS AND managers at the

couldn’t support.

Ministry of Defence are at an impasse

But they were all adamant

over pay.

that they would not sell

The department has offered a

members’ terms and

three-year deal – but it is predicated

conditions to fund any

members accepting a reduction in

element of pay.

their terms and conditions.

Despite repeatedly

MOD reps at this year’s annual

asking the department

delegate conference passed a motion

to honour its commitment

saying they would not accept cuts to

to work together on pay, the unions

terms and conditions in return for a

were excluded from developing the

decent pay rise.

business case to the Treasury and, to

The unions are particularly angry

date, have never even seen it.

because in its formal pay offer letter

Prospect negotiator Julie Flana-

in 2018, the department promised to

gan said: “This exclusion is even more

work with them to develop a business

galling when the government’s pay

case for a fairer, transparent and more

remit guidance actually encourages

business focused pay system.

departments to engage with their

But the department has failed to keep that promise. Prospect and the other unions did

unions on annual pay remits and developing pay flexibility business cases.” The unions, led by Prospect, put

take part in workshops at the start of

forward a proposal for an initial

the reward review process. They all

one-year deal based on the most

set out what they would like to see in

recent pay distribution models, with a

the review and what they wouldn’t or

promise to look at what savings could

‘MOD reps… would not accept cuts to terms and conditions in return for a decent pay rise’

Change programme takes heavy toll on statistics workers

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

PROSPECT HAS warned the Office for National Statistics that poor planning of its change programme is putting members in its Economics Statistics Group under undue anxiety and stress – and putting outputs/data quality work at risk. ONS announced its transformation programme in 2016. It started a job evaluation and regrading project in 2017. But the process led to many ESG staff being unmatched in the ‘Target Operating Model’ (TOM) matching exercise. The staff produced

compelling evidence that

profiles for ESG staff lacked

the matching process was


irredeemably undermined by

This resulted in many

inadequate ‘as is’ profiles which

Prospect members in ESG

were baselined in March 2018

feeling that they were being

and used to match staff to TOM

put at an unacceptable

‘to be’ profiles in July 2019.

disadvantage when panels

Many of the ‘as is’ profiles were either inaccurate, inadequate, inappropriate, incomplete or out-of-date. Unions said that the process of developing the ‘as is’ role

sought to match their ‘as is’ profiles to ‘to be’ profiles. They claimed that although the proposed role was substantially the same as the current one, the profiles failed to match.

be achieved to inform years two and three. “It would have produced a pay award for all members in excess of the 2% indicated by the Cabinet Office pay guidance, distributed via a mix of consolidated pay and nonconsolidated payments depending on position on the pay range. “We believe this is pragmatic way forward and one that would be welcomed by members,” concluded Flanagan. The unions are waiting for the continuation of negotiations and the department’s response.

The unions submitted a collective appeal on behalf of members in ESG in August 2019. They disputed the claim that ONS had consulted them on the content and allocation of ‘as is’ roles profiles in ESG and established a baseline position in a previous phase of the transformation. They said that ESG’s failure to ensure that ‘as is’ profiles were up-to-date and accurate, and the flouting of the appeal process, breached the organisation’s change policy. But ONS said the evidence the unions had provided in relation to the ‘as is’ role profiles was “not within the scope of this appeal mechanism”. The unions met Jonathan Athow, acting National Statistician on 25 September to air their concerns. Management defended the ‘as-is’ profiles as robust and the unions are currently gathering evidence to formally challenge this.



Neurodiversity – why openness benefits everyone Environmentalist Greta Thunberg credits her Asperger syndrome with helping her “think outside the box” and challenge those in power

LIKE MANY human characteristics, such as

over our work is likely to be a significant source

height, weight or shoe size, there is a natural

of stress, but it is especially so for those who

variation in the anatomy of people’s brains. This

are neurodiverse. Change can be especially

can lead to a range of different behavioural

difficult for those who are neurodiverse.

and psychological characteristics – for example

It is likely that, over time, they will have built

seeing things through a different lens to

up strategies to make their working lives easier.

everyone else.

With the introduction of change, such as new

The term neurodiversity is often used to

structures or procedures, or the arrival of a

describe dyslexia, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum

new line manager, those coping mechanisms

(which includes Asperger’s syndrome) and other

will become redundant and new strategies will

neurological differences.

need to be established.

As Thunberg demonstrates, many neurodiverse people are highly able – and often very successful in their fields of work. However, they can also face challenges if their employers do not understand their strengths and weaknesses and do not provide the working environment they need to succeed and flourish. The conciliation service Acas estimates that one in seven UK workers is neurodiverse.

Therefore, a change process that takes

“Performance management needs to support neurodiverse members. It must not be used as a mechanism to punish them”

But polling last year by the

the time to explain, consult and incorporate the suggestions of those involved is a good starting point for success. A sensitive approach like this will benefit everyone.

Performance management Many employers operate appraisal and performance systems, some of which are linked to pay. Neurodiverse people may be at particular risk of losing

HR professionals’ body CIPD found that only

out where there are discretionary-based pay

one employer in 10 considers neurodiversity in

systems or payments linked to productivity.

its people management practices.

Professional assessments Neurodiverse members may face unexpected

Performance management needs to support neurodiverse members. It must not be used as a mechanism to punish them. Ensuring that neurodiverse employees

challenges in the workplace, so it is important

receive appropriate adjustments should go

that employers provide them with appropriate

some way towards this, and employers should

reasonable adjustments and support.

assess performance after a reasonable

It is often advantageous for neurodiverse people to disclose their status to their

adjustment has been put in place. The line manager, who generally conducts

employer. When employers are aware of a

the appraisal, is key to ensuring discrimination

staff member’s neurodiversity, they must make

does not occur. Therefore, it is crucial that

reasonable adjustments.

line managers receive appropriate training

Prospect recently published a briefing to guide reps in starting conversations with neurodiverse members about the

in conducting appraisals and reasonable adjustments. Where behavioural issues are part of the assessment process, line managers should

assessment –

be aware of how neurodiversity may affect


performance. For some individuals, it may be

Reps are vital in negotiating the frameworks which underpin reasonable adjustments and providing neurodiverse members with

appropriate to remove this element from the assessment criteria. Prospect has a range of resources to

personal representation to ensure they receive

support reps in encouraging employers to make

adjustments which are tailored to them.

workplaces neurodiversity friendly – https://

For any of us, having insufficient control

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

advantages of obtaining a professional



EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS in the Manweb area of Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) have voted for industrial action over pay. The dispute centres on the fact that SP Manweb has employed external staff on significantly higher salary levels than many existing staff. Prospect members were aggrieved

Scottish Power engineers vote for industrial action

that the newly-hired staff would not have network authorisation status so may not therefore be fully operational for some time. Existing staff want their skills to be assessed in the same way as new recruits so that they have the opportunity earn the salary paid to those recruits. But the company says this would be a re-opening of a three-year pay agreement. The company also says that the current matrix pay arrangements give members earning eg 85% of the market rate ample opportunity to reach the market rate of eg 114%. Prospect disagrees and believes this could take up to 16 years or more in some cases – if achievable at all.

‘We will leave no stone unturned in seeking a solution’

Prospect has tried to engage with the

against re-opening the three-year

above the newly-agreed market

pay deal.

rates. To add insult to injury, some

The matter was then referred to the company council which decided

members were expected to assist and train the newly-arrived engineers

that it was not appropriate to

“We are aware of the challenges

proceed to stage two.

facing hiring managers in a difficult

SPEN says all internal avenues of engagement have concluded.

employment market and there is no ill feeling towards those new recruits

Prospect negotiator Ian Perth

who secured the market rate/above

said: “Given the company’s need to

the market rate on entry.

recruit at/and significantly above

“The ballot turnout, and members’

company and get it to recognise that

the market rate, there is clearly

overwhelming decision to move

the disparity in pay is unjustified and

an issue with the market rate for

towards industrial action, further

needs to be urgently addressed.

engineers in the area.

underlines the injustice they feel.

The members initially raised

“Our members had just agreed to

“We will leave no stone unturned in

individual grievances and SPEN agreed

a three-year pay deal including new

seeking a solution and engagement

to hear their cases at the local union-

market rates. No sooner had the

with the employer, but as it stands

employer forum. But it said it was within

deal been settled when members

this dispute will continue

its rights to hire at the rates it believes

discovered that the company was

to escalate,” Perth

are appropriate and argued strongly

hiring new engineers up to 14%


Engineers must be at the forefront of any plans for National Grid IF GOVERNMENT is serious about

moving to an independent system operator,

renationalising parts of National Grid,

it must recognise that it will be accepting a

chief executive,

it will need to think carefully about the

wide range of liabilities.

John Pettigrew,

operational risks, the future of engineering

“The National Grid is asset light, but,

National Grid’s

also mentioned

in the UK and pension liabilities, Prospect

operationally, a risk heavy organisation.

the strength of its engineering as a key

has warned.

Not to mention its significant pensions

reason why the National Grid should keep


its ESO status.

Energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, Prospect • Profile – October 2019

suggested that the government was looking

“Prospect would want clear

He said: “We have some great engineers

again at whether the National Grid should

commitments on recruiting, retaining and

in National Grid who understand not just

be stripped of its role as Britain’s Electricity

rewarding a highly-skilled engineering

how to maintain and develop networks but

System Operator (ESO).

workforce. This is especially important

also how to operate them.”

The energy minister’s comments followed one of Britain’s worst blackouts for years on 9 August, which crippled the

given the shortfall of, and age profile of, engineering in UK.” The current split structure of

railway system and left millions of homes

National Grid, with engineers across

without power.

two organisations, helps with career

Prospect national secretary Steve

Thomas welcomed Pettigrew’s statement but urged him and the Board to improve engagement with Prospect over engineering career pathways. “They could start by talking to us

development, Thomas added. He warned

about the graduate and apprenticeship

Thomas said: “If the government is serious

that a smaller pool could stifle skills transfer

schemes – currently the company refuses to

about looking at public ownership and

and increase reliance on contractors.

collectively bargain over these.”



No room for manoeuvre at Gibraltar airport


PROSPECT HAS accused the government of Gibraltar of misunderstanding or misrepresenting the reasons why Gibraltar airport was closed for a day in September. On Sunday 15 September, one of the two controllers rostered to cover the afternoon/evening shift called in sick. The day shift controller was available to cover the afternoon, but was unable to work beyond 7pm because of legal restrictions on controller hours. Those same legal restrictions prevented any of the other controllers being called in. Two controllers were on leave and overseas, and thus unavailable for short-notice cover. But the day after the closure, the government of Gibraltar issued a press release suggesting that offduty controllers were unwilling to cover the shift. Prospect negotiator Steve Jary disputed the claim and said it wasn’t a lack of cooperation or unwillingness. “It simply wasn’t possible for any of the other controllers to provide cover.”

Cost pressures on air traffic management Jary pointed out that the increasingly commercial nature of air traffic management contracts means there are constant pressures on cost from airport operators (the Ministry of Defence at Gibraltar) and airlines. “Service providers such as

‘There are no ‘stand-by’ controllers – the staffing is too tight to provide contingency of this sort’

Agency chief issues warning to vehicle testers who bully his staff THE WORKERS who help ensure that

colleagues have been physically or

vehicles on Britain’s roads are safe and

verbally abused whilst carrying out

roadworthy should not be subjected

their job; I am sure you will agree this is

to bullying and harassment.

totally unacceptable.

That was the key message in a

where VSAs have been harassed

Driver and Vehicle and Standards

because of disagreements on

Agency to owners and managers

vehicle test failures, and times where

of the 450 authorised testing facility (ATF) sites across England, Scotland and Wales. Gareth Llewellyn

NATS have little choice but to respond. However, cuts

wrote to the DVSA’s ATF

in staff numbers come at a price in terms of resilience.

partners to express his

“The tower at Gibraltar Airport has seen a

concern about reports

reduction in staff as a result of the contracts agreed

of vehicle standards

between NATS and Aquila, and Aquila and the MOD,

assessors (VSA) being

without proper consultation with Prospect.

subjected to bullying and

“Gibraltar is a small unit and a reduction of just one controller presents challenges with rostering and cover for sickness. This increases the airport’s vulnerability to short notice closures. “There are no ‘stand-by’ controllers – the staffing

“There have been many instances

letter from the chief executive of the

unreasonable behaviour at ATF sites. Llewellyn said that

‘We will investigate all reports of unacceptable behaviour and will take action where necessary’

although the relationship between

they have been put under significant and unwelcome pressure to carry out additional testing work. These behaviours will not be tolerated. “The DVSA/ATF contract agreement clearly states that there should be no harassment, bullying, physical abuse or discrimination against a DVSA employee

“We will investigate all reports of unacceptable behaviour and

was highly professional, there had

will take action where necessary. If

especially with the legal restrictions on controller

been a number of instances which

circumstances are warranted, I will

hours, which help ensure that air traffic controllers are

risked bringing this relationship into

consider suspension, or withdrawal of

fit for work and not fatigued,” Jary added.

disrepute. He said:

vehicle testing.”

Prospect has been in discussions with NATS for

“We are committed to creating

He asked the ATF partners for

several months about the union’s proposal for a

and maintaining an environment that

their support in reinforcing those

service delivery agreement for Gibraltar which would

recognises an individual’s dignity at

commitments and to maintaining

provide greater resilience with reduced numbers –


a safe and respectful working

including potential changes to controllers’ contracts.

“It should remain free from

NATS has stated that this is not necessary.

hostility, abuse, offensive behaviour,

Stop press – visit our transport page at https:// for an update on pay negotiations for Gibraltar’s air traffic controllers.

harassment, bullying, prejudice,


discrimination and victimisation. “I have heard reports where my

environment for everyone.

•  Route One recently reported on the case of an illegal minibus operator

who assaulted a DVSA examiner – see

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

DVSA and the vast majority of ATFs

is too tight to provide contingency of this sort,



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Safer driving and personal contract updates PROSPECT PRODUCES a wealth of guides and resources for reps and members. You can

find them all by logging into our members’ website – https://

Recent additions and updates: Prospect • Profile – October 2019

Safer driving guide – our updated guide covers the regulatory framework; assessing and managing the risks; keeping yourself safe and useful checklists on risk assessments and ergonomic cars. https://library.prospect. Prospect members’ guide to personal contracts – https://


definition and development

Prospect recruitment leaflet – Support, grow, succeed. uk/download/2019/01310

of education professionals’

BT location strategy leaflet – BT is rationalising its UK office footprint from around 300 locations to around 30 over the next few years. This leaflet encourages non-members to join so that they are protected in the future. uk/download/2019/01573

Standards for professionals in education and children’s services in England – this booklet aims to underpin the

roles, the services they deliver and the professional actions they undertake. uk/download/2019/01046

Six core principles for professionals in education and children’s Services in England – the six core principles offer professional and organisational practices to underpin development of individual and collective capacity. https:// download/2019/01045


Sexual harassment in the workplace – https://


Discrimination legislation in Guernsey – download/2019/01529


Future of trusteeship and governance: consultation on improving the quality of scheme governance – https://


Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system – https://library.


Defence committee inquiry – Defence industrial policy: procurement and prosperity – https://


Restraint in mainstream settings and alternative provision – https://


Ofgem consultation on RIIO-ED2 – response to Ofgem’s open letter proposing a robust workforce resilience measure for RIIO2 – https://


Energy capacity market consultation – https://


BEIS/Ofgem retail energy market – https://

Your shout


How development can enhance the landscape and built heritage Richard Hebditch, government affairs director at the National Trust

NEXT YEAR the National Trust

century vantage point, we can

for the National Trust’s ability to look

will mark its 125th birthday.

romanticise the Victorians and the

after some of the most special places

The National Trust can appear

heritage of public buildings and

over the last century.

unchanging and eternal – after

suburban streets they created.

all our tagline is about looking

The inner suburbs in my bit

For all the benefit the National Trust was able to bring to the

after special places for ever, for

of Victorian south east London

buildings and places it owned, it was


are now the desired homes of

only with the development of the

the professional classes, and

planning system that the country’s

century and a quarter has

my parents’ house in Poundbury

wider landscape and heritage would

always responded to the

mimics a nineteenth century

be safeguarded.

changing society, economy and

vernacular (though it has to be

environment. These provide the

said, owing more to Scotland than

But our work through a

context for our work to protect places of natural beauty and historic interest. Our founders were always clear that heritage, beauty and nature were not just something to preserve in isolation, but something that should be of benefit for all. The National Trust recently worked with the University of Surrey on pioneering brain research, which

‘The spirit of a place gives us a sense of belonging’

Recently, however, the planning system’s role has become increasingly

the traditional buildings of Dorset).

contested. It is blamed for both ugly

Yet, the rediscovery of Victorian

development in the wrong locations

buildings and architecture can blind us to the destruction and ugliness of the period.

and for holding back housing supply. The temptation can be to throw out the planning system and start

The Victorians were perfectly

again. But if not planning, then what?

capable of building stunningly ugly

Policy Exchange’s recent interventions

buildings, of proposing to crash a

in the debate have been welcome for

railway line through Greenwich Park in

recognition that the answers need

front of the Queen’s House, of eating

to be not to start from scratch but to

up beautiful green spaces under the

look at ways to improve what we have.

showed that meaningful places play

advance of monotonous ranks of

a huge part in our emotional and

terraces, or erasing historic coaching

a priority for central and local

physical wellbeing. (

inns from Southwark (though the

government, we need the planning


National Trust managed to preserve

system to ensure public benefits are

one side of the George Inn). The

provided in developments, given

Imaging (fMRI) scans of the brain

Victorians were probably the biggest

that the market for land does not

carried out as part of the research show

destroyers of our natural and built

incentivise these.

that the brain generates an emotional


Functional Magnetic Resonance

response to places that people feel

Public pressure could force

As housing continues to be

But we also need councils in their own developments and in their

changes to railway routes or protect

approach to Local Plans to use spirit

joyful, calm and energised.

some spaces, but it was not enough

of place to inform their work.

Further work by the Trust showed

and the National Trust’s liberal

The nineteenth and twenty-first

how places bring people together,

reformist founders looked to the law

centuries are very different, but what

both as locations where we interact

to provide better protection.

they do share in common is a public

with others but also because we want

The 1907 National Trust

to share our love of places with other

Act enabled the new charity to

being built and who want to see the

people. The spirit of a place gives us a

permanently protect the places it

green spaces and historic features of

sense of belonging.

owns by declaring them inalienable

where they live protected.

So we know that the quality of places matters to our well-being. But what can we learn from the past? Looking from our twenty-first

who care for the quality of the places

and only to be overridden by a special Parliamentary procedure. Institutionally protected to provide public benefit, this has laid the basis

With thanks to Policy Exchange for permission to reproduce this essay –

Prospect • Profile – October 2019

are significant to them, such as feeling

Support. Grow. Succeed.

Profile for Prospect

Profile, October 2019  

Magazine for Prospect members

Profile, October 2019  

Magazine for Prospect members