PROFILE Magazine for Prospect members â€˘ www.prospect.org.uk â€˘ Issue 1, February 2014
Specialists in the eye of the storm
Members working day and night #publicinterestunited
The real lessons of the floods AS I write this column, relentless storms and heavy rain continue to lash the UK, bringing misery to communities experiencing flood conditions. The media is full of dramatic images and stories of the response from central government, agencies and senior figures. The breaching of flood defences and associated loss of power are causing more people to think about the consequences of investment choices. The ‘one in a 100’ event seems to have become a weekly occurrence, putting great strain on resources and assets built when such situations were not predicted. Sadly media interest in the complexity of repair and restoration and the dedication of those involved is limited. It may be valid to debate compensation for power cuts or the lack of communication. But the public needs to hear loud and clear that it takes highly trained professionals to ensure that their homes are protected and power supplies maintained. Where are the stories about the challenges of safely repairing high voltage overhead line faults, and the risks to those carrying out this work? These matters are understood within companies, but not always by the public. In this Profile we celebrate our members’ courage and professionalism in these demanding environments. In this we have common cause with their employers. Rather than trying to justify how more can be done with less, the government and regulators should listen to our specialists, who are working with real assets and threats. The need for long-term investment is self-evident, yet many remain wedded to the idea that a 15 per cent cut in Environment Agency staffing can still be delivered. Despite promising that money would be ‘no object’ when it came to dealing with the emergency effects of the extreme weather, prime minister David Cameron refused in parliament to say he would halt job losses at the Environment Agency or commit new cash for flood defence schemes. Government spending rounds and periodic reviews of regulated utilities or businesses are all too eager to identify cuts, but what counts in the long run is making or allowing the right investment choices. Meanwhile, in this Profile we also introduce Prospect’s Good Work agenda and invite members to tell us what it means for them. In the run up to a general election, this is good time to influence public policy on how to make work better. We have produced a briefing to encourage a more cohesive policy debate. Other activities on the cards include a round-table event with the human resources profession and a break-out session at Prospect’s national conference. Prospect may not have all the answers, but we have a vision of what success looks like – for the economy, workplaces and individuals.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
Prospect General Secretary
YOUR UNION, YOUR VOICE – Ballot papers for electing your national executive committee will be issued to working members on 18 March 2014. You can read the candidates’ statements at http://bit.ly/nec_elections
‘Rather than trying to justify how more can be done with less, the government and regulators should listen to our specialists, who are working with real assets and threats’
Profile magazine email@example.com www.prospect.org.uk Editors: Marie McGrath and Penny Vevers Reports: Katherine Beirne, Boc Ly, Graham Stewart Design and origination: Simon Crosby (Prospect) and edition periodicals editionperiodicals.co.uk Pictures/distribution: Tracy Thornton ✆ 020 7902 6604 Published by: Prospect New Prospect House 8 Leake Street London SE1 7NN ✆ 020 7902 6600 Fax: 020 7902 6667 Printers: Wyndeham (Peterborough) Limited Subscriptions: UK £37 per annum Overseas £54 Free to Prospect members ISSN: 1477-6383 Advertising: Century One Publishing Ltd Alban Row, 27–31 Verulam Road St Albans AL3 4DG ✆ 01727 739182 e-mail: d.murray@ centuryonepublishing.ltd.uk Change of name, address or employment details: Membership Department ✆ 01932 577007 email: membership@ prospect.org.uk eProfile: To receive Profile by email, log in at www.prospect.org.uk Acceptance of advertisements does not imply recommendation on the part of the union. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Prospect. Next issue: June 2014
INSIDE 4 HOLDING BACK THE TIDE – LITERALLY!
Courageous Environment Agency staff are working all hours to tackle the flooding crisis
5 NEWS ROUND-UP
Includes floods; energy pensions; air traffic control; pay; Scotland case win; Babcock; heritage
10 GREEN WORKPLACES 13 UNION EYES/ 60 SECONDS
14 VOLCANO EXPERT
15 GOOD WORK – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
Introducing Prospect’s Good Work agenda, plus six members share examples of good practice
18 MEMBER RECRUIT MEMBER 2014
New incentive scheme for members who recruit a colleague
21 HIMALAYAN ADVENTURE
Two National Trust members joined a botanists’ study trip
22 NEWS FROM ACROSS OUR INDUSTRIES
Heritage; civil service
24 GCHQ 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Photos tell the story of a historic battle for trade union rights
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady shares her solutions to revitalising social Europe
How the landscape is changing
Members’ letters, emails and texts
31 CLASSIFIED ADS Cover pic by Dave Throup: Environment Agency staff in Bewdley, Worcestershire
Inserts – Civil Service members only: Prospect guide for employees and managers on performance management in the civil service – http://library. prospect.org.uk/id/2014/00257; Retired members only: WiseEye newsletter – http://library.prospect.org.uk/id/2014/00232
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
THE CHELTENHAM NEWSPAPER CO LTD
30 CROSSWORD & PUZZLES
Courageous Environment Agency staff are working all hours to save lives and property, despite a huge hit on resources, team leader Sophie Fallon tells Katherine Beirne
■■ Sophie and the team by the flood defence in Wells-next-the-Sea, where the highest tide was recorded
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
F YOU haven’t lived through it, it is hard to imagine the devastation of the floods sweeping the UK. But one person who can sympathise all too well is Sophie Fallon, an operations team leader with the Environment Agency in North Norfolk. On 5 December 2013, low pressure, strong northerly winds and a spring tide culminated in a tidal surge that battered the coastline on a scale not seen since 1953, when floods killed over 300 people. For a once-in-200-year event to happen again within 50 years, without loss of life, is largely thanks to Sophie’s team, who worked relentlessly in extremely testing conditions. At its worst they were on the harbour front at Wells-next-the-Sea, where the highest tide was recorded, rolling out a floodgate to protect the properties behind it. Working in the dark – the streetlights had shorted – and with a car park so flooded the quayside cafe boat was floating in it, the team and the emergency services pumped water away to stop it breaching the gate. Sophie describes their apprehension – it was the first time the floodgate had been tested to this extent since its installation in the 1970s and there were forecasts of a potentially catastrophic second surge. Weeks later the clean up is still going on and highlights the balancing act the agency has to perform with limited budgets and endless demands on resources. North Norfok has unique problems. “You cannot move for sites of specific scientific interest,” says Sophie. Two designated freshwater nature reserves – Salthouse and Blakeney – were contaminated when sea defences broke. “Despite being well maintained, the defences at Blakeney popped in over 30 places, due to the sheer pressure of the water. It will cost millions to repair, and then you have
TIDE HOLDING BACK THE
– LITERALLY! “Working in the dark – the streetlights had shorted – and with a car park so flooded the quayside cafe boat was floating in it!” to justify spending that money on repairs or even partial repairs.” In the main, says Sophie, protecting property takes priority but other factors have to be considered. At Blakeney nature reserve only 14 houses were classed as at risk potentially limiting the funding available to reinstate the defences. But it is home to endangered birds, agriculture, a tourist attraction and local sentiment is strong. It highlights another aspect of Sophie’s role, as she and colleagues prepare to answer questions at an open forum for the public and conservation bodies. “A lot of time is taken up trying
to keep everyone the agency has to negotiate with informed of our decisions,” she says. While extreme weather invariably places the agency under scrutiny, Sophie finds it galling that general day-to-day invaluable maintenance receives little attention. “Maintenance is always first to suffer but if you cut it you risk everything we do. We were reviewed two years ago and cut to the minimum staffing considered capable of coping with a certain tidal or fluvial event. “We haven’t been able to recruit to cover retirements etc, so are below our minimum. We face further cuts of 1012 per cent. We’ve already trimmed all the fat. It’s hard not to get frustrated.” She oversees a 10-strong team, who work in three groups, ensuring they have the equipment, materials and permissions needed. That includes meeting health and safety requirements covering staff and the public; ordering and ensuring equipment is serviceable; arranging extra services like skip hire; checking timesheets and work rotas – the list goes on. “It’s not just a list of jobs – everything has to be considered in the light of environmental issues.” Winter is normally the time for remedial flood work, and summer the time for general safety and maintenance work such as replacing steps and fences and cutting river reeds. But even that is governed by guidelines. “As temperatures rise, stirring up the silt and vegetation can cut oxygen levels and kill the fish. We check levels throughout the day and stop if they rise too much. “Our work has to be managed so there is no adverse effect. We also seek to put in enhancements – such as improving the habitat by pinning woody debris into the riverbank. People just don’t know enough about the things we do.”
Don’t shoot the messenger
Negotiator Kevin Warden comments on years of underinvestment by the government
DESPITE JANUARY being the wettest on record, and our emergency planning arrangements being tested to breaking point, coalition ministers and some media decided a scapegoat had to be found for this flooding of Biblical proportions. The Environment Agency was accused of protecting houses ahead of farmland; of failing to invest sufficient funds in dredging; and ■■ Warden prioritising birds – Pickles has tried to ahead of people. deflect blame The agency,
Lesson of the floods: no more cuts THE GOVERNMENT must call an immediate moratorium on 1,500 job cuts in the Environment Agency, in the light of this winter’s devastating floods, Prospect said in February. The union also condemned attempts by some media and politicians to blame agency staff who have been working round the clock for the problems caused by storms and flooding. “I know from our own Prospect representatives that exhausted agency employees were angry and tearful after they heard communities secretary Eric Pickles blame the agency’s advice for the current crisis,” said deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh. “In a single comment, Pickles wrote off a whole swathe of specialists, whose expertise has served government and the UK well. “All governments depend on specialists – especially in times of crisis. And staff at all levels in the Environment Agency – including Prospect managers, specialists and professionals – have stepped up to the plate in these challenging and unforeseen conditions. ” Around 4,500 agency staff are currently involved in the floods, of whom 1,500 have been pulled in from other functions such as waste regulation, nuclear regulation and fisheries.
■■ Manasseh – ■ All governments depend on specialists – especially in times of crisis
Manasseh stressed that any failings should be laid fairly and squarely at the doors of the government, whose austerity programme has starved the organisation of vital investment over the years. In parliament, despite announcing funding for the immediate emergency, and saying money would be ‘no object’, prime minister David Cameron refused to say he would halt job losses or commit any new cash for major flood defence schemes. The number of agency staff is being reduced from 13,700 in 2009 to 9,700 by October 2014. Around 1,150 were transferred out to Natural Resources Wales, but the rest – about 23 per cent – will be cut. Already 800 flood engineer posts have gone, with more to come. Manasseh added: “The debate is being contaminated by the vitriol from those whose ideological purpose is to attack public services whenever they sense an opportunity. “The weather cannot be controlled. But its effects can be foreseen and managed by the range of specialist organisations working on the environment.” At issue was the role and value of these public bodies and the experts who work for them. “This government seems bent on undermining one and ignoring the other. We will all pay the price.”
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
and other flood risk management authorities, have to operate within a strict policy and legal framework. Parliament makes the laws that require the agency to address the impacts on the environment of their activities. Ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made the policy of not promoting dredging. Funding decisions are made by the Treasury and Defra: on how much money the agency receives and how it can spend it. Communities secretary Eric Pickles has tried to deflect blame on an organisation that was: ●● doing the government’s bidding, while being deliberately starved of the funding necessary to maintain our flood defences ●● being forced into cutting 15 per cent of the staff working night and day to protect homes, businesses and land threatened by inundation ●● already struggling to cope with previous loss of experienced flood engineers due to this government’s earlier funding cuts. Like a flood defence built of sand in the face of a massive surge, the political defence of blaming the Environment Agency will collapse as the tide of public opinion turns to reflect on who is really responsible for years of underinvestment. Then, perhaps, we may hear a genuine apology from our government.
■■ Demountable flood barriers being put up at Beales Corners in Bewdley, Worcestershire
ENERGY • TRANSPORT
MPs fail to grasp impact of storms on power staff PROSPECT HAS accused MPs of failing to understand the huge pressures facing frontline electricity workers in the wake of the severe weather over the Christmas period. The union was commenting after the heads of five major distribution network operators and the Energy Networks Association gave evidence to a Commons energy select committee investigation into December’s disrupted power supplies. Deputy general secretary Garry Graham wrote to the committee after its chair, Tim Yeo, described the CEOs as seeming to lack any “expression of real concern”. Yeo added that the “tone of this conversation and its contents has been utter complacency”. In his letter, Graham questioned whether the committee had understood the extent of the challenges facing the operators and their employees, and raised concerns about a lack of balance in its investigation. He said: “Despite the descriptions from the chief executives of winds reaching 80-100 mph – in some areas for over 12 hours – which made working
■■ Graham – Lack of balance in select committee report
at height impossible, the committee seems to have ignored the problems of ensuring safe working conditions. “The fact that no member of the public or the workforce was injured should have been welcomed.” Problems included wind-blown debris and trees coming down, compounded by water saturation; lines coming down and conductors clashing. One landowner phoned a network operator to apologise that a barn had been blown across a field and brought down a power line.
Graham said the chief executives had gone out of their way to pay tribute to the lengths taken by frontline staff to restore power supplies. The national nature of weather conditions had made it unfeasible for operators to activate mutual aid arrangements. Given the circumstances, the committee’s suggestions of ‘complacency’ seemed misplaced and smacked of “pre-formulated soundbites designed to gain media attention, rather than a calm appraisal of the extraordinary challenges faced.” Graham said Ofgem had expressed a more nuanced view. In its evidence, the regulator highlighted recent improvements made by network operators in service delivery and longterm cost reductions. Prospect will contribute to Ofgem’s assessment of companies’ responses to the storm. The select committee heard evidence from the heads of Scottish Power, UK Power Networks, Scottish and Southern Energy, Electricity North West, Western Power Distribution and the Energy Networks Association.
DANGERS REMAIN IN EUROPEAN AIR TRAFFIC SHAKE-UP
■■ Members outside the Commission’s UK office. Inset: National secretary Emily Boase, Prospect rep Aaron Curtis, Jeremy Gautrey (PCS) and Prospect member Suresh Tewari deliver their message to the EC’s head of representation in the UK PCS delivered a letter as part of a Europe-wide day of action by affiliates of the European Transport Workers’ Federation. Members met Jacqueline Minor, the commission’s head of representation in the UK, to relay their concerns. Minor promised to prepare a report on the unions’ position. The action coincided with the European Parliament’s tourism and transport committee vote on the SES2+ proposals, which saw a number of amendments
voted through. But Aaron Curtis, Prospect air traffic controllers’ branch international lead, said dangers still remain. “The recent amendments were disappointing and have done very little to remove the threat to safety and jobs. The amendment on unbundling support services still causes grave concern. “The airlines continue to push for unrealistic cost reductions and are using profit as an excuse to drive forward their view of economic improvement.”
PICTURES: STEFANO CAGNONI
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
COST-CUTTING PROPOSALS from the European Commission will lead to a drop in air traffic management standards and affect service quality, safety and jobs, say air traffic staff. Over 30 NATS staff gathered outside the Commission’s UK office in January to protest against its Single European Sky (SES2+) proposals. These contain plans to hive off support services, such as engineering, from ATM services and outsource them. NATS staff argue that communication, navigation, surveillance and aeronautical information are an integral part of the core business provided by air navigation service providers. Separating the activities and subjecting them to artificial market conditions will affect safety standards and fragment service provision in a drive for profits. The air traffic controllers, engineers, scientists and support and management staff represented by Prospect and
THE ATCOs branch was sad to hear of the death of former chair Alan Taylor in January. Alan held several operational and managerial positions as well as being an IPCS/IPMS ATCOs representative, serving with distinction and dedication. Former colleague Barry Gibbs said he was a firm and effective advocate. “He was a good friend – well-liked and respected by people on both sides of the negotiating tables.” Alan was proud that sons Colin and Niall followed in his footsteps as an air traffic controller. Prospect will contact Westminster MPs and members of the Scottish Parliament, Wales Assembly and the European Parliament before the next debate in March and the European elections in May.
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Members’ pressure secures energy pensions victory COLLECTIVE ACTION by Prospect members, who stood together to make members has helped to halt proposals their voices heard. that would have allowed electricity “Had the reforms gone ahead, they would have allowed employers to companies to override pension unilaterally adjust pension benefits to protections secured when the industry offset increased National Insurance was privatised. costs. Members would have had their The government had considered financial futures penalised because a scrapping certain ‘protected persons’ promise made to them in the past had pension rights, granted to workers in been broken.” the nuclear and electricity industries, as Prospect deputy general secretary part of its reforms to the state pension. Garry Graham said: “This But in February it result shows what we can decided against introducing achieve when we act together. a statutory override for I would like to pay tribute to protected persons, affecting the many Prospect members around 60,000 workers in who took the time to respond former nationalised industries. to the consultation and also The protections, contained lobbied their MPs. in the 2004 Energy Act and “Their actions had a 1989 Electricity Act, required significant impact and the companies to provide ■■ Walsh – this is a with such a finely balanced pension benefits to workers significant victory consultation, they were employed at the time of almost certainly the difference privatisation that are no worse between the outcome we were looking than they would have received in the for and the outcome we feared.” public sector. However, Graham said concern Hundreds of Prospect members remained over other proposals contained wrote to their MPs raising their concerns in the pensions bill to significantly at the plans to end these rights. reduce expenditure on state pensions. In its consultation response, “Although the protected persons Prospect warned that the measures regulations remain in force, cost risked a potential exodus of pressures have not disappeared and we ‘protected persons’ from the industry, still have a lot to do in relation to the bill exacerbating the existing skills gap. and pensions for members who are not Prospect pensions officer Neil Walsh covered by the protections.” said: “This is a significant victory for our
Protest as lobbying bill made law
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
The lobbying bill received Royal Assent in January, with unions warning that it will stifle debate and campaigning by a whole range of charity, community and civic groups. Pictured are union campaigners gathered outside parliament to hand in an anonymous petition of nearly 12,000 signatures opposing provisions that compromise the confidentiality of union membership records. With the protesters are Lord Monks, former TUC general secretary, and Lord Lea, former TUC assistant general secretary. ■■ See: http://bit.ly/lobbybill_parl
COMMUNICATION CAN’T BE LEFT TO THE MARKET
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
OFCOM’S ANNUAL review of customer satisfaction levels in communications lacks teeth because the regulator has no underpinning duty to promote greater investment, Prospect said in January. The regulator revealed that over the past ten years consumers have seen significant price reductions across most forms of communications service, and UK companies are faring well against international competitors. Value for money has risen over the last five years for broadband customers, while falling for other key services, such as banks, airlines, and so on. But on the downside, most complaints came from rural areas about the reliability of their broadband and mobile service. An average 17 per cent of rural consumers were dissatisfied with the reliability of their broadband service and 19 per cent with the reliability of their mobile service. Customer satisfaction with the reliability of broadband services has declined overall, from 88 per cent in 2012 to 83 per cent in 2013. Prospect national secretary Ben Marshall (pictured) said: “At present, virtually the whole development of fixedline broadband in the UK is being funded by BT alone. BT is a private company – expecting it, almost singlehandedly, to fund a basic service vital for all, regardless of the commercial case, is simply unrealistic.” Marshall welcomed the finding that the cost of fixed broadband has halved in real terms in the last ten years. “But most of this has come about because of technical innovation and investment by BT, and there is no room for complacency. “The 2003 Communications Act must be changed to give Ofcom the powers to intervene to ensure that investment remains a priority. “Otherwise major groups of consumers and citizens in rural areas will remain marginalised and see no benefit from the positive changes reported by Ofcom.”
Truth behind a Victorian scandal
Prospect’s Steve Kay brings football and social history to life in a new novel AT FIRST glance the link between the first Romany footballer to play for England and Prospect’s training for branch editors may not be obvious. But throw Prospect’s Steve Kay into the mix and all becomes clear. Steve says it was what he learnt on a union branch editor’s course that equipped him with the skills and confidence to research and write a novel about Rabbi Howell, a bedrock of the Sheffield United’s championship winning team between 1897-98. Steve is a former branch chair at the Health and Safety Executive and sits on the civil service sector executive. He has spent the last five years of his spare time researching and writing The Evergreen in red and white. It tells the tale of Rab’s last turbulent year in Sheffield, as he faces the end of his sporting career and a return to working in the pits while torn between his wife and another woman – a scandal in Victorian society. He was a controversial character, particularly given his mysterious
sacking from the club two weeks before the end of the 1889 season. “Football folklore hints at match-fixing but why would a loyal servant do that just as he was about to achieve glory?” asks Steve. The project is largely rooted in fact, with Steve only reverting to fiction when the trail on Rab, known as the Evergreen, went cold. His meticulous research – including a meeting with Rab’s granddaughter and great grandson Nicholas Pomfret (soon to be mayor of Preston) – has won praise from reviewers, alongside his ability to combine social history and football folklore with a poignant love story. In part Steve hopes that by highlighting Rab’s story his former clubs might contribute to a headstone for his grave in Preston Old Cemetery. “No one who played for England should be buried in an unmarked grave.” The book can be purchased on Amazon and is also available as a Kindle download – see www.theevergreen.co.uk ■■ We have a free copy for the first three members who write to Profile requesting one (details page 28).
PROSPECT HAS won personal injury compensation and an early retirement payment for a firefighter crew manager at Dundee airport. Allan Brown (right), was familiarising himself with a new fire rescue vehicle when he fell from its roof platform and landed on his outstretched leg in 2010. He was kept in hospital overnight and discharged the next day. Allan was in severe pain in his back and shoulder. Over the next few weeks his movements were limited. Physiotherapy over nearly two years made no difference to the pain and Allan realised he might not be able to return to his job. When this became clear to the employer, despite Prospect requests for Allan to be medically retired, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd terminated his employment. National secretary Alan Denney said the case had three elements: ●● an application to an employment tribunal for nonpayment of monies due if a
firefighter loses his job ●● an application for ill-health retirement because the employer refused to make one ●● a personal injury claim by union solicitor Slater and Gordon. “Prospect supported Allan from the outset,” said Denney. “After, the initial application, we successfully appealed to the relevant Scottish minister on the original decision not to award ill-health retirement. This included commissioning a supplementary report from an occupational health medicine consultant.” Allan won his case on all three counts and significant compensation. Denney said he was grateful for all the help provided by Prospect. “The compensation goes a long way to providing a future for his family. Although he hopes to retrain as a nursery worker, he can’t go back to the work that he loved. “This case shows the value of Prospect membership. Allan would not have been able to pursue his case without our support as the costs would have been prohibitive.”
Prospect support gives Allan a secure future
■■ Prospect member Alexandra Geary, keeper of artefacts at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, arranges a hammock next to a torpedo in the foreends compartment on HMS Alliance
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport welcomed a Prospect delegation in late 2013. Local reps organised a visit to the new exhibit, HMS Alliance, and an open session for members and non-members. The visitors, including Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy and negotiators Alan Leighton and Bob King, are pictured in front of HMS Alliance, the only surviving British World War II era submarine. ■■ Read the story of the restoration at www.submarine-museum.co.uk
Join the Scottish referendum conversation at http://bit.ly/scotlands_future
BABCOCK SQUEEZES PAY AND PENSIONS CASEFILE Benefits to members Jan-Dec 2013
PERSONAL INJURY SCHEME
BENEVOLENT FUND Number granted 12 Total granted £13,000
DEATH BENEFIT Number granted 78 Total granted £79,106
●● a small group of staff in the Babcock International Group (BIG) final salary scheme face significant detriment in their pension arrangements. Another group await further proposals from Babcock, that will likely mean an increased cost and/or a reduced pension benefit to the “broadly comparable scheme” new employees at the Clyde were enrolled into. There are additional outstanding structural pay issues at the organisation, which were agreed with ACAS a few years ago. On pay, colleagues in sister union Unite voted in February in favour of industrial action ballot on 2013 pay alone. Cooper said: “On pay, the company is hiding behind the Ministry of Defence, claiming
its hands are tied by contractual arrangements and insisting any pay settlement can be no higher than for public sector workers. Yet the company has no difficulty in paying increased dividends to shareholders. “Our members’ specialist skills are in huge demand. They work hard to contribute to the company’s profitability and deserve better.” Cooper stressed that the union’s 350 members would rather see a negotiated settlement. “But if the company does not listen, they feel that industrial action is the only way they can get their message across.” Cooper and Prospect pensions officer Neil Walsh addressed a packed members’ meeting in early February, where various pension issues were explained. More meetings are planned as the various consultations go forward.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
Applications approved 241 On books 401 Number won 331 Value of awards £3,157,152
PROSPECT MEMBERS at Babcock Marine on the Clyde are preparing to ballot on industrial action because of major concerns about their pay and pensions. The Clyde naval base is home to the UK’s fleet of Trident submarines and any action could affect the running of the Faslane and Coulport sites. Negotiator Jim Cooper (pictured) said that several issues are at stake: ●● an outstanding pay settlement due for 2013. In December Prospect members rejected the below-inflation 2013 offer for 1 per cent consolidated and £500 non-consolidated ●● around 700 staff who transferred from the Ministry of Defence in 2002 face a major increase in pension contributions
Bid to build network of sustainability reps PROSPECT IS talking to EDF Energy about creating a network of sustainability reps to help take forward the green agenda. EDF Energy already has a sustainability panel, comprising managers from across the company and sustainability ambassadors drawn from the workforce. The latter are allocated some time to promote the sustainability agenda – from events such as climate change week, to encouraging car-sharing and energy efficiency. Prospect rep Steve Phillips has the union seat on the sustainability panel. He also speaks on sustainability issues at the European Works Council. But he sees scope to go a stage further by inviting the existing ambassadors to become sustainability reps. “This would ensure the workforce is democratically represented on sustainability issues, as it is in health and safety,” he said.
“It would also help embed the importance of individual responsibility, while connecting employees to the bigger sustainability picture and turning a nebulous concept into something practical.” Prospect sees the new role as enabling reps to: ●● become a two-way conduit between the shop floor and the company sustainability panel ●● actively encourage behavioural change among colleagues ●● participate in agreed environment audits within the workplace. Prospect research officer Beverley Hall said: “Sustainability is now a key issue for forward-thinking companies, as health and safety was 50 years ago. “Many are waking up to the fact that sustainability and corporate social responsibility are core business values on which they are judged by consumers and, increasingly, regulators.”
■■ Working together: Ellie Simes, museum environment officer; Charlotte Bonner, NUS; Alastair Hendry, Prospect environment rep; and Joanna Romanowicz, NUS
STUDENTS BRING GREEN PROJECT TO MUSEUM
PROSPECT MEMBERS at the Natural History Museum are partnering with a Green Impact project to help them achieve a more sustainable workplace. The project, pioneered by the National Union of Students, aims to help staff be greener at work. Its programme of steps can be tailored to individual organisations. The size, complexity and nature of the museum, with its public, science and work areas, make this initiative particularly challenging. However, Prospect environment rep Alastair Hendry said: “As we are a Natural History Museum, I think most of our employees consider environmental issues a priority. Everyone genuinely wants to see tangible improvements.” The scheme launches in March but staff are already becoming more proactive in areas such as separating waste and recycling, energy conservation and fair trade in the museum shops. Branch chair Professor Elliot Shubert said: “The project will get staff more involved with the museum beyond their own job, and will raise the profile of Prospect, which should help us to recruit more members.” He said management had been ‘very supportive’, agreeing to bear the start-up costs for the project.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
PROSPECT SCIENTISTS – YOUR BIOSPHERE NEEDS YOU! A MICROBIOLOGIST and Prospect member says predictive modelling of the biosphere is a long-term goal that could unite scientist members across a range of disciplines. Dave Roberts, who retired from the Natural History Museum in December, has called for a collective Prospect
strategy and the sharing of data. He says: “Climate change is the greatest threat facing our way of life. “The major drivers are anthropogenic, ie caused or produced by humans. “But we seem to lack the political capacity to change direction.
Population growth also adds pressure from inexorable land-use change. “So we need to know how exactly the biosphere and the ecosystem services on which we rely will respond both globally and locally.” ■■ See his full article on the Prospect website at: http://bit.ly/profile_bios
Members take action for fair pay OVER 400 Prospect members at the UK Hydrographic Office are to take industrial action over pay. More than 85 per cent of the members based in Taunton, Somerset, voted in favour of the proposed action short of a strike, after their pay offer for 2013 was imposed by management. Progression was not deemed contractual, leaving 78 per cent of staff below the maximum and 33 per cent on the bottom step of their pay grade. The 2013 offer was in line with Treasury guidance and comprised a 1 per
cent revalorisation of salaries, a 1 per cent non-consolidated payment to all staff, and non-consolidated performance pay for just under 25 per cent of staff. Prospect members balloted to reject the offer. Negotiator Helen Stevens said that UKHO could afford further pay improvements but were bound by government policy. The planned industrial action is part of a wider pay campaign by the branch. “The overarching aim is to achieve a new pay system,” said Stevens. “It is recognised that this will take
■■ Prospect negotiator John Higgins, Wendy Wilson of FDA and Prospect legal officer Linda Sohawon outside the High Court in January
Court rules against Commons unions PROSPECT EXPRESSED its disappointment in January after the High Court denied a claim by three unions that the failure to pay staff annual increments is a breach of contract. Prospect, PCS and FDA are now considering lodging an appeal. They went to court seeking £6m in lost pay for about 250 members at the House of Commons Commission, the body responsible for the administration and services of the house. Prospect negotiator John Higgins said: “The pay of house staff has to be comparable with that of civil servants, and the commission decided in 2011 to apply the government’s pay freeze to its staff. “This included not paying staff
their annual increments, due from April 2011.” The unions received legal advice that this was a breach of contract, because increments were contractual and should therefore be exempt from the pay freeze. Due to a peculiarity of law, the claims were heard in the High Court rather than an employment tribunal. Hundreds of union members employed by the House of Commons have been denied pay increases for the past three years, totalling nearly £2m per year. Higgins said: “We are disappointed by this ruling. At a time of public sector pay freezes, incremental increases are a vital lifeline for these staff, many of whom are low paid.”
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
MP Chris Evans (below) has added his name to the Prospect Pledge campaign, after a member in Wales sent him the postcard inserted in last November’s Profile. Evans, Labour MP for Islwyn, said he was unaware of the campaign until he got the postcard. With his interest sparked, he contacted Prospect HQ and met parliamentary and campaigns officer Parmjit Dhanda to discuss the five policy pledges. Evans said: “When an MP receives a request from a constituent about a campaign, the first instinct is to find out more and be supportive if that’s possible. Never underestimate the power of a constituent lobbying their elected representative.” With many large manufacturing employers in his constituency, Evans is particularly interested in Prospect’s call for a government commission to increase the 13 per cent of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers to 30 per cent by 2020. Prospect is taking the campaign to other parts of the UK, with launch events in Edinburgh on 19 February, Cardiff on 4 March and Belfast on 18 March. Members are urged to send pledge cards to their MPs and equivalents in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Greater London Authority. For more cards, email email@example.com with your name, address and how many you need. ■■ See: www.prospect.org.uk/prospectpledge
Your postcard campaign is working, says MP
We want to give members a chance to demonstrate the impact of government pay policy
some time, possibly two years. We want to give members a chance to express their feelings and demonstrate the adverse impact that the government’s pay policy is having.” Branch president John Bird said: “Enough is enough. The pay system is well and truly broken. A new and fair system must be put in place. “We aim to forcefully convey the needs of the business, as well as the staff, and demonstrate through our actions the impact of the lack of progress in fixing the problem.”
Remember to keep your eyes peeled and email us if you spot anything Prospect related – firstname.lastname@example.org
Huff, puff and blow this guff down Lucy Kellaway from the Financial Times has started her own annual awards for corporate guff (http://bit.ly/bbc_guff). The category for euphemisms for firing people included Reuters, where staff were “transitioned out of the company”. Other organisations chose to “disestablish” or “complete” roles. Kellaway’s winner was HSBC bank, which “demised” 900 or so managers. The category for extravagantly renamed household items featured a description of a bottle of water as an “affordable, portable lifestyle beverage”. A Speedo swimming cap was a “hair management system”. Please send us your examples of corporate guff that failed to float your boat and we will run them up the flagpole and see who salutes!
Tweet that parakeet Forgive the puns, but we loved the cheeky parakeet who stuck his head above the parapet. He brightened the day of CCTV operators at the Highways Agency when he was caught on a speed camera on the M6. See him in all his glorious technicolour at http://bit.ly/keet_pic
Ice and slice?
CHERYL FROGGATT Cheryl Froggatt is a trainee forensic psychologist at HM Prison Full Sutton . Why did you join Prospect?
Prospect organisers Cait Hughes and Sharon Brown joined the picket line at Ruskin College, Oxford, in January. Cait and Sharon were on an organising course but quickly found themselves putting theory into practice by supporting University and College Union members on strike over pay.
Google doodle The British Museum’s 255th birthday in January was marked with a Google doodle. The doodle depicted the museum’s Great Court, which was redeveloped in 2001 and is the largest covered public square in Europe. Google began to feature doodles, which can make a significant difference to traffic to organisations (or individuals), in 2000. The doodle team is open to new ideas – email email@example.com
Viagra thefts up More than £7m worth of stock has been stolen from the Ministry of Defence in the last seven years. A huge sum – but a drop in the ocean from an annual budget of £46bn. The stolen items included copper piping, electrical cables, radiators, silver statues, cutlery and 100 bayonets. The most intriguing revelation was that Viagra pills worth £6,000 were stolen.
A plan for engineering? In 1951 the Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsmen pledged its support for a ‘Plan for Engineering’. The proposal stated that a planned economy was the surest guarantee of full employment, stability at home and peaceful relations with other countries. No pressure there, then. It also wanted to conduct an investigation into which sections of the engineering industry were appropriate for early nationalisation. Try that one today!
When I started working for the Prison Service, we had a Prospect rep who was very enthusiastic and able to explain all the benefits of union membership – having someone to fight your corner in terms of pay and conditions, provide support if needed and offer advice at times when things may be more difficult at work. How has the union been able to help your branch? The union has helped the psychology section of the Prison Service branch hugely, particularly in terms of pay. We had settlement of an equal pay claim a few years ago, as well as a big push for recognition of the value of our work. Has the fair pay agreement made a big difference to morale at work? Definitely – the lead up to the day of the pay rise was like Christmas, and we all went out to celebrate. We often reminisce about the salaries that we started on in the service, and without the union we could still be there. Do you have any advice for other branches waging their fair pay, or better pay, campaigns? Recruit as many members as possible and get them involved. It is these campaigns that mean the most to people. Having a clear benefit such as potentially better pay is a great motivator and selling point for people who may not have previously joined the union. How do you cope with the stress and harrowing stories you must hear of at work? As a therapist working primarily with sexual offenders, it is essential that I make the most of the support available to me. I use supervision, debrief and counselling as much as possible. I also rely heavily on my colleagues for support – everyone is always happy to look after each other’s welfare. A sense of humour and a liking for Disney films help to make sure I leave troubling stories at the gate. How would you persuade a colleague to join Prospect? I regularly try to recruit new members. Every new colleague hears about the benefits of union membership and the successes that Prospect has gained for us. Tales of pay increase celebrations usually do the trick!
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
How do you make a mundane winter message about the perils of burst pipes zing? United Utilities took a novel approach and produced a spoof pop video to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s 1980s hit ‘Ice Ice Baby’. Lyrics like “wrapping is my whole life. I’m not talking about presents I’m talking about pipes” and “check out my beard because I bought it in Aldi” melted our hearts. Hear a rapping Santa and his elves encouraging customers to become ice wise at http://bit.ly/ice_wise.
Solidarity at Ruskin
BRITISH GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Specialist with fire in her soul Dr Sue Loughlin and her team at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh are collaborating with other scientists to better understand the impact of volcanic eruptions on health, environment and travel. Graham Stewart reports
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
WHEN THE Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, the subsequent ash cloud caused major travel disruption across Europe. Prospect member Sue Loughlin and her team provided advice to government and liaised with Icelandic colleagues. Sue is head of volcanology at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, and began studying the Eyjafjöll volcanic system in the early 1990s. She was one of the few scientists on the New Year honours list – winning an MBE for services to volcanology. “I lead a small multidisciplinary team, active in several different areas of work – primarily volcanological research and several high-profile projects including the Global Volcano Model and a ‘Supersite’ project known as FUTUREVOLC, based in Iceland. “We provide impartial advice to customers and work with universities and research institutes to advise the UK government on volcanic hazards that may affect the UK and other British interests worldwide.” Sue now heads a research project funded by several UK government departments to better understand the potential impacts on health, environment and travel of a catastrophic type of volcanic eruption. The project aims to develop a civil contingency plan for such an eventuality. The computer scenario is based on the 1783 eruption of Laki in Iceland. It led to the deaths of a quarter of the island’s population through famine and created a huge cloud of sulphuric aerosol that hung over Europe for months. “The project models the emissions from
“I find volcanoes beautiful and fascinating, but the best part of the job is the people I’ve met and friendships I’ve made all over the world” an eruption similar to Laki and investigates the particular aspects of an eruption and meteorology that might lead to impacts in Europe. It involves the Met Office, Leeds University, the BGS, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh and others,” says Sue. “Understanding risk is about collaboration across different disciplines – volcanology, meteorology, health, aviation, and environment.” Sue has a career-long association with the Montserrat Volcano Observatory in the Caribbean. The island was seriously affected by an eruption that began in 1995. The last major explosion there was in 2010. She worked at the Montserrat Observatory from 1997-1999 and was its director from 2004-2006. “Although understanding the volcano and its hazards was a fundamental role, engaging with the public and the authorities was also a key part of my job,”
she says. “I’ve always been interested in volcanoes and remember watching scientists on TV during the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980. “I find volcanoes beautiful and fascinating, but the best part of the job is the people I’ve met and friendships I’ve made all over the world. I travel a lot, which can be challenging with a young family, but I’m lucky to have a husband who can fit his work around my commitments plus a supportive network of friends.” Sue is committed to science communication: “The public understanding of science requires a great deal of effort from all scientists. Different styles of presentation appeal to different people, so the more scientists who communicate in different ways and at different levels, the better.” When she started out, the workforce was male-dominated. “I was the first female scientist in the office to have children and return to work, but this is now commonplace. “An acceptance of diversity makes for strong teams. Flexible working is essential for scientists who are also parents or carers.” She feels the balance is definitely shifting and has noticed more female than male students at recent conferences. “Childcare facilities are becoming more common, which signals a new family-friendly face. ” Sue was delighted to receive an MBE. “I love my job and feel privileged to have had the work experiences I’ve had, the colleagues I know and a husband who has enabled me to pursue an exciting career while enjoying a wonderful family life. UK volcanology is a very vibrant community, so it feels like a recognition of joint endeavours over many years.”
GOOD – what does it mean to you? The challenges of the recession include growing income inequality, greater stress at work, and grim prospects for young people. Our Good Work manifesto proposes a way forward for employers, workers and other stakeholders Prospect’s workplace agenda is not just for the bad times. Work that is enjoyable, stretching and fulfilling is good both for individuals and employers. There are six key components:
Secure, interesting, fulfilling jobs Feeling insecure at work in response to real or perceived threats is a significant source of stress. Good work doesn’t necessarily mean a job for life, but individuals should not feel their job is constantly under threat. Job design is important, as is having clear and achievable responsibilities. Work should provide opportunities to learn, develop and grow – within a role, through lateral moves, or by taking on greater responsibilities. Workers are more productive and engaged where organisational goals align with their own sense of purpose. Individual motivators may be many and varied, but a sense of place within an organisation’s broader structure, and identifying with its values, are core factors.
A culture based on trust and fairness
Choice and control over hours Flexibility should be genuinely two-way. Wherever possible, employers should allow people flexibility in when and where they work. Technology blurs boundaries between work and life outside, but individuals need to feel in control.
Reward and effort in balance Open and transparent reward structures allow individuals to see and understand whether their pay is fair relative to others. Yet equal pay remains a challenge across all workplaces, as do other unfair and discriminatory pay practices. The Chartered Management Institute has identified a 50 per cent gap in bonuses paid to men and women. More broadly, as Wilkinson and Pickett argue in ‘The Spirit Level’, inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives and it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes – not least where opportunities for social mobility have been progressively eroded.
Degree of control over pace of work and environment Matching work to an individual’s abilities and capabilities is important, as is control over tempo and hours of work. Feeling safe and comfortable at work is also a basic need.
Employee voice Many agree on the importance of the employee voice to successful corporate engagement, but there is no consensus about how to make it happen. Although many people do not realise it, good employers recognise the value that union workplace representatives bring in resolving day-to-day problems at work. New research by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research shows that a union presence in the workplace can enhance satisfaction over pay, hours, job security and work itself. Although understanding of these benefits has declined, especially among younger workers, research by Unions 21 shows that even people who have never been in unions recognise the value of a collective approach.
Six Prospect members share their examples of good practice overleaf
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
For most people work is a social activity. Workplace relationships – with colleagues, managers or senior leaders – set the culture. Behaving in an open, honest and inclusive manner is critical to building trust. The Institute of Occupational Medicine’s 2010 ‘Good work, good health’ study demonstrated the importance of perceived justice in maintaining wellbeing. Acting fairly and being seen to act fairly must include respecting difference and supporting and valuing diversity. Successful teams comprise individuals with different strengths, perspectives and backgrounds.
See more, including a briefing, Raising our Sights – good work in a fairer stronger economy, at www. prospect. org.uk/ goodwork
SECURE, INTERESTING, FULFILLING JOBS Sisters Kelly and Tara Stewart, trainee technical specialists, Sellafield
A CULTURE BASED ON TRUST AND FAIRNESS
Satnam Ner, Babcock International health physicist and Prospect branch chair, Rosyth Royal Dockyard, Fife
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
THE TRUE barometer of good work in an employing organisation is not in what it does, but rather how it does it. This sets the underlying culture and is often reflected in how employees speak about their work. Is it just a job to pay their bills? Or a career that they speak about with pride, enthusiasm and excitement? One visible sign of a healthy and sustainable organisation is the make-up of its workforce. Reps can get involved by asking key questions. Is there true diversity, reflecting the make-up of society? Do the recruitment policies and procedures ensure targets are met for disabled people, women or those from black and ethnic-minority groups? Reps need to be consulted from the outset and given some say on the number of trainees taken on and their areas of work. The Scottish TUC has cited our cross-union initiative at Babcock Rosyth in relation to the Modern Apprenticeship Programme as an example of good practice. The programme
GOOD WORK comes from individuals being able to take pride in their work – be that their workmanship, work environment or the business they work for. Sellafield Ltd has an employee reward scheme that highlights individuals who have excelled. What’s important is that the individual is put forward by their colleagues. This amplifies the person’s pride in their achievement; makes them feel recognised by the business and makes their colleagues proud of them. One criticism of British culture is that good work is not seen as fully achieved unless analysis shows it was close to perfect. Sellafield Ltd has started to adopt some American perspectives, with good work celebrated and people made to feel they are doing a good job, without always hearing a cynical: “You could do better.” We are fortunate to be encouraged to join a union. This gives us a voice when negotiating everyone’s pay, terms and conditions as well as addressing other issues affecting different groups of workers. If individuals know that they have a say, they will care more for the business. Sellafield Ltd also encourages its workforce to continuously develop to become better at their current job or acquire the skills to help them up the career ladder. People know they are receiving appropriate training, in a suitable training centre, paid for by their business. Overall, good work comes from people wanting to come to work, do their job to the best of their ability and go home satisfied with what they have done.
■■ Satnam Ner in front of a Type 22 Royal Navy frigate being refitted in dry dock at Rosyth
has supported disabled people, an apprentice who took maternity leave, and existing mature employees able to participate without loss of pay. We have also been involved in the selection process. The employer welcomes our input, particularly during the interview stages. When the new employees start, union reps need to be there from day one of the induction process, so that their relevance and role is integrated into every apprentice’s work life.
CHOICE AND CONTROL OVER HOURS
Ed Wheelhouse, rep and analyst, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, near Portsmouth
MOST EMPLOYEES at Dstl have the opportunity to work to flexitime by altering their start and finish times to meet their needs and the needs of the role. Employees are contracted to work a fixed number of hours (37 for a full-timer) and there is an option to agree an alternative pattern of working with your line manager. For example, where the work allows it, some people operate a compressed week to do four longer days and have the fifth day off. My wife Kate Moran and I have a baby, Sam, aged three months (pictured). Since his birth I have been contracted to work 20 hours a week. The employer is flexible in that I could work 15 hours one week and 25 the next. Kate, also an analyst, is currently on maternity leave but we are sharing this between us. She comes back part-time in April and then I will take six months of leave. After that we will both
CONTROL OVER PACE OF WORK AND ENVIRONMENT
of good work in an employing organisation is not in what it does, but rather how it does it” return part-time, so that we can balance our hours without leaving Sam. It’s better for the career development of staff – neither of us has to lose out on a full year of work. It’s also good for the business – more control over our work/life balance means we’re more engaged in what we and Dstl are trying to achieve. I welcome Prospect’s Good Work campaign. Sharing good practice will show other members, reps and employers what can be achieved in their own workplaces.
REWARD AND EFFORT IN BALANCE
Gordon Hutchinson, branch secretary, Met Office, Exeter
■■ Lloyd at home with his family senior management on an informal basis. We hope this will help foster even better employment relations by developing the interpersonal relationships crucial to successful partnership working. Diamond also operates a flexible working hours scheme, allowing staff a degree of control over their working day.
Alison Smith, branch chair, Welsh Government, Swansea
WELSH GOVERNMENT is one area where partnership working between the trade unions and management has already provided dividends. Partnership is backed from the very top, starting with an agreement between the Permanent Secretary and the chair of the trade unions, and cascaded at all levels downwards through each director general and ministerial portfolio area. We feel that every door is open to us. In each of these DG partnership forums we are developing approaches to issues affecting our members that are more open, direct and productive than the confrontational union versus management standoffs that other organisations might have seen in the past. This is about sharing information and “heading off trouble at the pass” before we even get there. Trade unions are consulted by HR on policies which govern the way staff are managed as they are revised (over 50 policies). This consultation is ideal because reps often have direct experience of how policies work in practice, whether well or badly, and the effect on individual staff and line
managers, particularly in relation to personal cases and how they might be applied in practice when it comes to grievances, disciplinaries and the like. A good example of success is the partnership development of a domestic violence policy that is set to become the model for all public services in Wales. Looking to the future it will only become more important as the Welsh Government looks at a framework for civil service professions at the same time as the political agenda turns issues such as the energy sector, renewables and telecoms including broadband, into a priority. We will be looking at concerns affecting the professional and technical specialists who will be so important to developing the economic and social agenda for Wales. Welsh Government fully understands the value union reps can bring to the workplace and the merits of ensuring that its staff and our members have an effective voice. It recognises that we have a valuable contribution to make, so we are listened to. We may not always agree with the final outcome but at least we have been part of the debate.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
WE HAVE been working with management to evolve our pay and reward system. We have achieved a system with clear links between job, generic role, market reference and reward. We now have a fair comparison between disparate roles, but still have a way to go to correct market lag. The system has been refined to enable horizontal and vertical movement between jobs, giving staff the ability to control their careers and obtain interesting and fulfilling jobs in their preferred areas. For example, an operational meteorologist (forecaster) can transfer their skills and enthusiasm into a scientific research or business role, gaining work life balance. We have gained flexibility in hours (part-time/ful- time) by clearly linking our skills and outputs to a business case. By raising our voice in a collaborative way we can make progress, assisted by management, despite external government diktats preventing a fair market-referenced pay structure.
PROSPECT REPS actively engage with the employer in a variety of forums to ensure members’ concerns are voiced. At the employee representative council they negotiate terms and conditions such as pay, holidays and hours of work. They also sit on the safety health and environment committee and are proud of the contribution they have made in helping Diamond achieve the British Safety Council 5 star award and the Sword of Honour, which recognises the ‘best of the best’ for health and safety management. Monthly health and safety tours by reps have contributed to achieving this. Reps have also recently committed to working more closely with Diamond
“The true barometer
Lloyd Collier, senior technician and branch secretary, Diamond Light Source, Oxfordshire
MEMBER RECRUIT MEMBER
■■ President Alan Grey (centre) and other members of the national executive with the new joining forms
Member recruit Member 2014 A new scheme that offers rewards and incentives for existing Prospect members who recruit new members is being launched on 1 March
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
FOR EVERY new colleague who is recruited, members will be able to choose from a £10 shopping voucher or making a donation to charity. Prospect’s president, Alan Grey, said: “The evidence shows that the most effective recruiter is a satisfied member and we have thousands of them. This scheme is to encourage those members to spread the word about our union and to reward them for doing so.” The rewards and incentives include: ●● £10 ‘love2shop’ gift voucher ●● £10 Marks & Spencer voucher ●● £10 donation to Prospect’s benevolent fund ●● £10 donation to Prospect’s Oxfam fund ●● no incentive or donation required. A dedicated joining form has been produced for the ‘Member Recruit Member’ initiative, which will run for 12 months – tear out and use the leaflet provided on the next two pages of this issue.
“The evidence shows that the most effective recruiter is a satisfied member and we have thousands of them”
Industry-specific versions of the form and promotional stickers will also be produced and distributed. New members will also be able to join via the Prospect website and fill in the ‘recruited by’ section to enable the existing member to claim their reward. “If every member were to recruit a colleague, Prospect would be even more influential and effective and able to look to the future with even greater confidence,” said Grey. “The increased subscription income would also allow the national executive to review subscription levels. It’s a win-win all round.” Encourage your colleagues to join online at www.prospect.org. uk/joinus, but please ask them to complete the ‘recruited by’ section so that you can receive your incentive.
PIONEERS CALENDAR NOW HALF PRICE PROSPECT STILL has some Pioneers calendars left, on offer at £2.50 – half the original price – plus postage and packing. The calendar celebrates women in male-dominated industries. You can order online and pay via PayPal at www.prospect.org. uk/pioneers, call Sherri Hoppen on 020 7902 6607, email sherri. firstname.lastname@example.org or post a cheque with your name and address to Sherri Hoppen, Prospect, Freepost RRHS-GGEK-THTG, 8 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN – for one or two calendars, please add on £2.25 p&p; for three or four calendars add on £4.60 p&p.
Member recruit Member incentive 2014 One of the main things every Prospect member can do is recruit more members. Organised workplaces with a high density of union members mean that Prospect has much greater influence with local management and employers.
£10 ‘Love2shop’ gift voucher
Ask your colleague to complete and return the form opposite. Please remember to fill in the ‘Recruited by’ section and specify your incentive option.
Prospect is running a ‘Member recruit Member’ campaign in 2014. For every colleague that you recruit, you can choose one of the following: Option A £10 donation to Prospect’s benevolent fund which is used to help members in financial difficulty
£10 voucher from Marks & Spencer
Option C £10 donation to Prospect’s Oxfam fund
Option D Option E No incentive required
Colleagues can join online at www.prospect.org.uk/joinus, but please ask them to complete the ‘recruited by’ section so that you can receive your incentive.
10 reasons why your colleagues should join Prospect
training your representatives
organising nationally and locally
campaigning for all our members
improving career opportunities
promoting equality at work
protecting your health and safety
negotiating your pay and conditions
working to secure fair pensions for all
representing you to your employer
Prospect is the union of choice for more than 116,000 professional workers. Strength in numbers enables us to be a force for fairness in the workplace by: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 providing legal support and a wide range of products and financial services.
F O R
P R O F E S S I O N A L S
Please fill in the whole form and send it to: Prospect, FREEPOST KT2424, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 9BR
U N I O N
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Recruited by Name
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I declare that to the best of my knowledge the answers here are correct. I agree to abide by the rules of Prospect and have read the Data Protection Notice overleaf. Signature
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Prospect will not usually provide personal assistance in respect of any matter arising before an application for membership. Legal advice and assistance is offered at the discretion of the union.
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Please fill in the whole form and send it to: Prospect, FREEPOST KT2424, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 9BR To: The Manager
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Banks or Building Societies may not accept Direct Debit Instructions for some types of account.
other organisations associated with Prospect, including service providers. Where, occasionally, Prospect uses the services of such organisations, they are contractually obliged to process your data in a secure and confidential manner under our strict instructions. From time to time, we may wish to use the information for analysis or marketing purposes. This may benefit you as Prospect can use members’ collective strength to negotiate attractive terms for the provision of additional member benefits (such as holidays, insurance etc.) and to contact you with details of those of particular interest. If you do not wish to be contacted in this way, please indicate by ticking the box on the form overleaf. Please understand that this will preclude you from receiving details of any of these benefits and offers in future. If you are not sure, you can always notify us of your opt-out at a later date. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you also If you require further information you can: • write to Prospect, Flaxman House, Gogmore Lane, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 9JS • call us on 01932 577007 • fax us on 01932 567707 • email us on email@example.com
have the right to ask for a copy of your information (for which we make a small charge) and to request correction of any incorrect information held. Please write to the Prospect membership department at the address below. Please note that, in order to make sure we follow your instructions correctly and to improve our service to you through staff training, we may monitor or record communications. This statement complies with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
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Published by Prospect 2014
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Member recruit member 2014
More members means greater influence Recruit a colleague…
■■ Neil (left) and Paul pause for thought
Return to rhododendron’s roots National Trust members Paul Stewart and Neil Porteous talk to Boc Ly about their trip to the Himalayas in search of rare and unusual rhododendrons, and their plans to put into practice what they learnt Stewart. “This year we will be preparing a site to grow these plants,” reveals Neil. “We are moving old, moss covered logs and tree stumps and constructing zig-zagging paths, like you see in the Himalayas,” reveals Neil, who adds that Mount Stewart has to be one of the ‘must see’ gardens in Britain and Ireland.
“We have identified varieties not yet in cultivation that grow in similar conditions in our part of the British Isles, which is very exciting” Challenging expedition
The expedition involved some treacherous drives on cliff-side roads and battling with altitude sickness on mountain hikes. However, the hardships were worth enduring for a fascinating trip, says Paul. “Darjeeling was interesting because of all the tea plantations. It’s still central to the local economy and responsible for a beautiful landscape,” he recalls. Other highlights included seeing the old
colonial architecture, the steam railway still used for public transport, and meeting Buddhist monks in remote monasteries where there was “no sign of the 21st century at all”.
Working with the employer Paul has been president of the National Trust branch for the last couple of years. He comes from a family of trade union and political activists and has been a union member since he left school. “As president, I want to bring a maturity to employee relations and to increase employee involvement in how the organisation is managed,” he says. “Much of what we enjoy at the National Trust is a result of Prospect working with the organisation. “The only way you can do that is through a trade union because it’s independent of the organisation itself. Staff associations will never achieve what a union can.” Paul says that the environment is just one area of mutual interest between the National Trust and union members. “We can actually help and support our employer. It doesn’t have to be about conflict,” he concludes.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
TWO PROSPECT members from the National Trust joined a delegation of botanists on a 14-day study trip to the Indian province of Sikkim in the Himalayas last November. The group was following in the footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker, the famous Victorian botanist, who collected many of the common plants that are now grown in Britain on his Himalayan expeditions in the 19th century. Paul Stewart is garden manager at Mount Stewart House in Northern Ireland and Prospect’s National Trust branch president. Fellow member Neil Porteous is the trust’s head of gardens for Northern Ireland. “Sikkim is one of the world’s greatest rhododendron habitats and there are a lot of rare and unusual types growing up there not in cultivation in the west,” says Paul. “On the trip we learnt about the environment from which many of the rhododendrons we grow at Mount Stewart came from. “We have also identified varieties not yet in cultivation that grow in similar conditions to our part of the British Isles, which is very exciting.” Paul and Neil will be using what they’ve discovered in the Himalayas back at Mount
English Heritage split in major shake-up MAJOR CHANGES have been announced at English Heritage, with an eight-year plan to split the organisation into two. A new charity keeping the English Heritage name will be created in 2015 to run the National Heritage Collection, and is expected to be self-financing by 2023. EH’s responsibilities for protecting and conserving England’s wider historic environment will be delivered by a new body – Historic England – for now remaining an arm’s length government body. The new EH charity will receive an £80m government grant to improve properties it cares for and to invest in new exhibitions, but is also expected to raise millions from non-government sources. Ministers said in a consultation that if a new funding model was not found, there would be an “accelerated loss of historic fabric in public ownership.” However, some of the country’s most valuable historic sites like Stonehenge (above) are already under threat because EH is struggling to cope with a massive conservation backlog, with budgets frozen a decade ago and at least £52m needed to address problems. Prospect branch chair Sarah Reilly said: “Most staff in the national collections group will transfer to the new charity via TUPE, subject to the usual
consultation between EH and the unions. “The charity has a bold ambition to become self– financing in eight years, with grant in aid tapering off. The plan is that increased visitor numbers, members and donations will realise this ambition. “Prospect members are likely to have some concerns about this part of the proposal and the potential knock-on effect to Historic England if these projections don’t fulfil their promise.” Prospect believes it is a matter of public interest that EH should remain the place of last resort for buildings and sites desperately needing investment and attention. EH chief executive Simon Thurley said it was vital for union members and other employees to feel informed and engaged with the changes, and regular meetings had been held with reps. He said the proposed new model offered “an opportunity for English Heritage to move forward with confidence and continue to deliver our important services both in leisure and tourism, and also in the vital job of ensuring that our nation’s heritage continues to play a positive part in our future. “We’ve worked with Prospect representatives at EH for many years, and have a good relationship with them.” PICTURES: MARK THOMAS
PROSPECT HELP TO TAKE YOUR CAREER FORWARD Prospect • Profile – February 2014
‘YOUR CAREER, Your Options’ was the theme of a conference at the Museum of London in February for Prospect members from across the UK. The event included two workshops – ‘Where should I go next in my career?’ and ‘How do I give myself a competitive advantage?’ New resources for members were launched, including an online booklet, Practical guide to planning and developing your career, and supporting podcasts. ■■ Full event report: http://bit.ly/prosp_career ■■ Download the new careers guide: http://bit.ly/planning_your_career
■■ Conference participants and, below, careers consultant Trevor Bibic at the Museum of London
Gill’s practical plan will aid contract cleaners
Prospect union learning rep Gill Coggins (above) has launched a language study programme for her employer’s contracted-out cleaners at the National Physical Laboratory. She worked with facilities management firm Amey and the College of North East London to organise the English skills course for 15 Amey employees, many of whom have English as a second language. The course gets under way in March, with two one-hour sessions on each training day so cleaning staff from both shifts can attend. Gill said: “As a learning representative, not only am I keen for everyone to enrich their world through education, but in this case there was a strong practical argument. “This group of employees are responsible for going into the labs to clean so it makes sense, from a health and safety point of view alone, that they are able to read English.”
GOVERNMENT SCIENCE EVENT
PROSPECT members in STEM may be interested in the sixth annual Government Science and Engineering conference. It takes place on 5 March, 10am4.30pm, at The Brewery , City of London EC1Y 4SD. Speakers include government chief scientific adviser Mark Walport and Professor Virginia Murray, head of extreme events and health protection at Public Health England. ■■ Enrol at: http://bit.ly/GSE_conf
Performance management: Prospect moves to help members get a fair deal PROSPECT HAS warned that the new performance management process in the civil service may be used to force managed exits and drive down pay if it is not closely monitored and challenged. The union has launched a dedicated area of the website and other guidance to help members understand the process and what to do if they are unhappy with their rating. It has produced advice for line managers on how to ensure fairness in the process and address pressure from above to impose a forced distribution of performance markings. The union has grave concerns that the new procedures incorporate
the worst aspects of performance management, including: ●● forced distribution, requiring 5-25 per cent of staff to be categorised as ‘must improve’ ●● an opaque ‘validation’ process that involves ‘levelling’ performance ratings relative to others in a peer group, irrespective of whether standards have been met ●● the removal of non-consolidated bonuses from all but the top 25 per cent of performers. Prospect deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh said: “We are concerned because in most cases the new systems have been introduced into the civil
■■ Manasseh: Appraisal systems introduced under the guise of ‘performance management’ are vulnerable to abuse
service without meaningful consultation. “Prospect does support appraisal systems which focus on improving performance in a positive way and on staff development. “But previous experience suggests that appraisal systems introduced under the guise of ‘performance management’ are vulnerable to abuse and may be used negatively to impose penalties.” The union’s recent survey of members in the civil service showed lack of clarity and confidence about the procedure and how to receive a fair assessment. ■■ Members can download a detailed briefing from http://library.prospect. org.uk/id/2014/00076 ■■ The dedicated web area is at: www.prospect.org.uk/CSperformance ■■ Credit card size leaflets, summarising advice to managers and staff, are enclosed in this issue Profile
PROSPECT TO DISCUSS NEW PAY DEAL FOR MET POLICE SPECIALISTS
Strong vote for action at OS MEMBERS AT Ordnance Survey voted overwhelmingly in February to take industrial action short of a strike in support of their fair pay campaign. Nearly two-thirds of members voted in the ballot, and 86.1 per cent of them said yes. Don Campbell, OS branch secretary, said: “This is a fantastic result, which shows members are sick of appalling policies that attack their terms and conditions and reduce their pay in real terms year after year.” The union has nearly 600 members in the organisation. They had already overwhelmingly
rejected the 2013 pay offer of a consolidated 0.92 per cent. This was even less that the 1 per cent restriction imposed by the Treasury, in order that OS could include progression costs within the 1 per cent budget. Branch chair Mick Upfield said: “The goodwill of members has been steadily eroded over many years and this result shows it’s now hit rock bottom.” OS branch plans to work closely with other agencies such as the UK Hydrographic Office, where members are also campaigning for fair pay (story, page 11).
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
PROSPECT AGREED in February to enter discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service about developing a new pay structure that recognises and rewards the skills of professional and technical staff. The union also made clear how dissatisfied members are at the 1 per cent pay rise for 2013 imposed in November. National secretary David Luxton said: “Members are suffering rising living costs and fare rises, while take home pay continues to decline in real terms. This impacts directly on the morale and motivation of staff, just as the commissioner and deputy mayor are seeking their co-operation to embark on a major change programme.” The discussions aim to review market pay benchmarking data for specialist grades and look at specific job families rather than broad pay bands, while taking account of equal pay. Prospect has more than 900 members in the MPS.
GCHQ 30th ANNIVERSARY
ALL PICTURES: JOHN HARRIS, EXCEPT JAN 85 PIC BY SHEILA GRAY/FORMAT
…FOR BELONGING TO A TRADE UNION
■■ 26 Jan 1985 – marching through Cheltenham
25 JANUARY 1984 is a key date in trade union history. On that day 30 years ago, every worker at the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham (GCHQ) had an envelope put on their desk which said they could no longer be a member of a trade union and work at GCHQ. Access to industrial tribunals was also banned. Those refusing to sign the government’s document would face the sack. Those signing it would receive £1,000, less tax. The unions called a meeting attended by several hundred members to discuss the options available for staff: to resign from the union and carry on working at GCHQ or stay in the union and be transferred elsewhere in the civil service. The unions added a third – to remain a member of the union and remain working at GCHQ. Unsurprisingly the government ignored this option and the ban took effect on 1 March 1984. In late 1988, with only 14 people remaining who refused to quit their union, the sackings began. The sacked workers travelled the country addressing conferences and meetings, trades councils and rallies. Thousands of people marched through Cheltenham every January on the anniversary of the ban. The unions pursued legal arguments in British and international courts. The ban was lifted in 1997, when the newly-elected Labour government restored trade union rights at GCHQ. Robin Smith, one of the 14 and now Prospect’s head of membership, said: “The support of ordinary working people, not just in the UK but across the world, gave us the strength to keep going.”
ROLL OF HONOUR ■■ 19 Nov 1988 – the first four sacked, outside the gates of GCHQ
Mike Grindley, Graham Hughes, Brian Johnson, Alan Rowland – dismissed 18 November 1988 Robin Smith – dismissed 29 November 1988 Gerry O’Hagan – dismissed 5 December 1988 Dee Goddard – dismissed 12 January 1989
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
Bill Bickham, Roy Taylor, Clive Lloyd, John Cook, Harry Underwood, Alan Chambers – dismissed 22 February 1989 Gareth Morris – dismissed 2 March 1989 ■■ http://bit.ly/GCHQpapers
■■ 15 May 1997 – the ban was lifted; Robin Smith, far left and Mike Grindley far right with general secs John Sheldon and Paul Noon
■■ 29 Jan 1994 – marching through Cheltenham on the 10th anniversary of the ban
■■ Jan 26 1984 – the protest begins with leafleting outside GCHQ, Cheltenham
■■ Nov 1989 – Mike Grindley and supporters mark the first anniversary of the sackings
How to renew the European ideal A single market needs rules based on decent standards for all workers, says TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady
The EU’s priorities must be investment for the future, sustainable growth, decent jobs, homes and living standards
and demographic change; and the rapidly changing industrial landscape. Europe must rediscover its core values. Decent working conditions, services and welfare aren’t part of the problem, but part of the solution. Of course the world has changed. We know that the EU cannot duck reform. I see three central priorities – political renewal, a level playing field for workers and durable, longterm solutions. Social democracy hasn’t been electorally attractive of late. Conservatives hold power in Germany, Norway, Spain, Greece and Britain. The left has lost the self-confidence to intervene in global markets, defend welfare systems and stand up to corporate power. But there are glimmers of hope. In Britain, the Labour Party is putting responsible capitalism on the agenda and is committed to tackling the causes of inequality. A single market needs a single set of rules based on decent standards for all workers. The TUC has a campaign called ‘Britain needs a pay rise’. Europe needs a pay rise too. The EU’s priorities must be investment for the future, sustainable growth, decent jobs, homes and living standards. The big question is how you fund it. There’s a strong case for Eurobonds and unions have long championed an international financial transactions tax. The best way to deal with our debts, fund our unique social model and rebuild democratic support for the European ideal is to get the economy back on track, get young people into work and give everyone the chance to provide a decent income for their families. ■■ This is an edited extract of Frances O’Grady’s speech to the Institute for International and European Affairs in Dublin in October – see www.tuc.org.uk/node/118945 ●● Europe area of TUC website – http://bit.ly/TUCeurope ●● What’s the EU ever done for us? – http://bit.ly/ GuardianEurope and http://bit.ly/IndeEurope
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
A YEAR ago, Eurobarometer – which measures public attitudes across the continent – found that, for the first time, more European citizens considered the EU to be undemocratic than democratic. This worrying development is a product not just of Europe’s institutional flaws, but people’s experience of EU-sponsored austerity, privatisation and liberalisation programmes. Many have lost faith that political classes – European or domestic – can or will stand up for the public interest against big business. Britain’s complex relationship with Europe is entering a dangerous phase. David Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on our EU membership if he’s re-elected in 2015. The aim is to repatriate workers’ rights – pregnancy, agency, working time – but not to improve them. This stance is driven by right-wing backbenchers and the threat posed by the UK Independence Party rather than any national interest. The European project – a single market counterbalanced by good public services and generous workplace rights – is fraying around the edges. How has this been allowed to happen? Weak regulation of the finance sector, shareholder supremacy and weaker unions all seemed fine as long as jobs and access to credit were plentiful. But now the dominant narrative is of soup kitchens, young couples moving in with their parents and the poor going without medicine. The situation has been made worse by the EU’s response of more labour market deregulation, the erosion of workers’ terms and conditions, and near permanent austerity in southern Europe. If the EU is just about protecting the single currency, privatising services and curbing public spending, then popular support for the European ideal will diminish. We need a new model attuned to the challenges of climate change; energy scarcity; rising inequality; social
How the pensions landscape is changing Prospect pensions officer Neil Walsh offers an overview of how the government’s pension reforms will impact on the union’s members AS THE government’s pensions bill passes through parliament, the implications of the changes ahead are becoming clearer – with a mixed impact on Prospect members.
Single-tier from 2016
The main aims of the bill are to: ●● legislate for a new single-tier state pension of about £144 a week for people reaching state pension age from April 2016 ●● establish a framework for increasing state pension age in the future in line with improvements in life expectancy.
Increase in pension age
In the Chancellor’s autumn statement more detail was provided on how state pension age might increase. The principle underpinning reviews of state pension age will be that people should expect to spend, on average, up to one third of their adult life in receipt of state pension. This principle implies that the increase in state pension age to 68 is likely to come in from the mid2030s, rather than 2046 as currently legislated for, with a further increase to 69 expected by the late 2040s. Prospect • Profile – February 2014
Voluntary NI contributions
The autumn statement also included details of a new class of voluntary national insurance contributions called Class 3A contributions. Currently people who do not have a full contribution record can pay additional voluntary national insurance contributions (Class 3 contributions) to increase their basic state pension up to the full amount
(£110.15 a week in 2013-14). With Class 3A contributions, people who reach state pension age before the single-tier pension is introduced in April 2016, and whose overall state pension entitlement is less than the rate of single-tier pension, will be able to buy additional state pension above the rate of the basic state pension and up to the rate of the singletier pension. Class 3A contributions will be brought in from October 2015. When more details are available, Prospect will explain how they will work and whether members might benefit from paying them.
the private sector by proposing a new category of pension scheme called defined ambition schemes. These would combine the characteristics of defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Defined ambition schemes can come in many forms – press reports have suggested proposals could focus on defined benefit-like schemes with no requirement to increase pensions in payment or provide a spouse’s pension. Prospect’s response to the consultation on defined ambition pension schemes called on the government to focus on improving the schemes people were already in rather than spending resources devising a new type of pension scheme that employers were unlikely to take up.
As the bill progressed through parliament, Prospect focused lobbying efforts on: ●● the implications for private sector defined benefit schemes of abolishing contracted out rebates ●● the unfair reduction in state pension entitlement for members of defined contribution schemes. An unsuccessful amendment laid in the Commons would have exempted a significant number of Prospect members in some privatised industries from the higher national insurance costs resulting from the abolition of contracting out. Prospect is pushing for a similar amendment to be accepted in later stages of the bill’s passage.
Recently the pensions minister responded to the long-term decline in defined benefit pension provision in
called on the government to focus on improving schemes
people were already in
rather than spending
One area where regulatory changes could significantly improve outcomes for scheme members is charges incurred by members of defined contribution schemes. Prospect strongly endorsed proposals to cap charges in a response to a consultation on this issue. Recently the government has indicated that any cap would be delayed until April 2015 at the earliest. You can download Prospect submissions to DWP consultations from the website: ●● Reshaping workplace pensions for future generations – http://library. prospect.org.uk/id/2013/01781 ●● Better workplace pensions: a consultation on charging – http:// library.prospect.org.uk/id/2013/01651
PROSPECT HAS welcomed a government review that recognises the necessary role of the Health and Safety Executive and its staff in raising standards in workplaces across the UK. The triennial review commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions also found a strong case for HSE’s functions to continue being delivered by a non-departmental public body, allowing it to retain its independence. But the union said the government must heed warnings in January’s review about the dangers of the recently introduced ‘fee for intervention’ model, which links the regulator’s funding to its income from fines. The review described FFI as a ‘dangerous’ model that has potentially damaged HSE’s reputation for acting impartially and independently. Stakeholder concerns included: ●● FFI is a penalty or fine regime, but without the usual safeguards for such statutory schemes ●● its introduction was linked to HSE’s need to fill the gap created by cuts in government funding, creating the impression that HSE has an income target to achieve. Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “Prospect warned that the FFI proposals would
be perceived as a business burden and risked damaging the regulatory balance. We have been proved right. We strongly back the review’s call to remove the link between funding and fines. It is the wrong solution to funding. “The HSE has also lost experienced inspectors because of the cuts and difficulties caused by FFI.” Prospect health and safety officer Sarah Page said: “Our members in HSE are proud of the contribution they make to raising standards. “The review recognises their contribution, professionalism and competence, as well as the proportionate and enduring legislative framework underpinning their work.” She also commented on calls by health and safety minister Mike Penning for reforms beyond the review’s recommendations to make HSE more commercial in its outlook and delivery. “The government must not impose further reforms without proper consultation and engagement with stakeholders, including the trade unions,” she said. Prospect represents more than 1,600 inspectors and specialists in the HSE and Office for Nuclear Regulation.
Workers’ memorial day
■■ Richard Shock in his workshop
TAKING A TURN FOR THE BETTER
PROSPECT MEMBER Richard Shock, who worked for 37 years at AEA Technology in Harwell, Oxfordshire, has developed an unusual and successful career as a woodturner since retiring. He has been turning wood in his workshop in Oxford for the last nine years, producing useful things like bowls, platters and paperweights, as well as sculptural pieces. “I make one-off pieces, both functional and artistic, always with an eye to quality, design and beauty,” he says. Richard was inspired to retrain after inheriting a lathe from his father. You can see and order his work at www.woodstockturning.co.uk and www.seekandadore.com/richardshock
WiseEye for retired members
RETIRED MEMBERS have been sent the second issue of their new sector newsletter, WiseEye, with this issue of Profile. Among other things the newsletter reports on the annual National Pensioners’ Convention rally and lobby of parliament; a ‘hands off universal benefits’ campaign and this year’s retired members’ annual delegate conference. Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, said: “Our retired members want to play their part in recruitment, and are keen to encourage anyone nearing the end of their career to remain in the union as part of our retired members’ group. Everyone can read the newsletter on the website.” ■■ See: http://bit.ly/wise_eye
See ‘action taken’ on conference motions
PROSPECT HAS published its report of action taken on motions submitted to the union’s national conference in May 2012. ■■ The ‘Action Taken’ document is available to members from the website at: http://library.prospect.org.uk/id/2014/00199
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
International Workers’ Memorial Day is being marked on 28 April to remember those who have lost their lives at work and to highlight the political threats in dismantling our existing health and safety framework. Members can show their support using the hashtag #IWMD14 on social media, organising events in their workplace and sharing promotional materials. ■■ Prospect has designed a special poster – see: bit.ly/IWMD14_poster ■■ More info: bit.ly/TUC_workers_mem
Prospect hails HSE vote of confidence
ViewPoint Work in hand to develop UK nuclear skills
the Editors, Profile, New Prospect House, 8 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN
020 7902 6665
receives a £10 book token
I would like to allay some of the concerns raised by Jim Mason (ViewPoint, Profile 5/13) about the utilisation of British-trained engineers in the UK nuclear new build programme. While financial investment is being accessed from both France and China to take Hinkley C forward, this doesn’t mean that all jobs will also be imported from overseas. Indeed, much work has been undertaken by the UK nuclear industry and government to ensure we have the skills and competencies required for as many of the jobs and opportunities as possible to go to individuals based and trained in the UK.
Nuclear expensive? I don’t think so
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
Drax electricity generating station recently agreed a ‘strike-price’ of £105 per megawatt hour (MWhr) and only a few weeks ago the consortium offering to build the Hinkley C nuclear power station agreed a price of £90 per MWhr. The strike-price for large off-shore wind farms reduces to £135 per MWhr by 2020. The strike-price is an income figure for the generating plant guaranteed by the government. Any shortfall between that and the price – pool-price on the trading market – paid by the National Grid is made up by the taxpayer through income tax, VAT, duty on cigarettes and alcohol and fuel duty. By subtracting the annual average pool-price from the three strikeprices and multiplying by a realistic annual energy output, the same for all three methods, one can arrive at an estimate of the subsidy taxpayers give to these industries. Thus an offshore wind farm could receive £725m per year; Drax 2-unit biomass plant £496m per year and Hinkley C (if it gets built) £382m per year. While wind farms and nuclear plant do not release any operational carbon dioxide to the atmosphere Drax will make a net release of 154m
In 2008, with joint funding from industry and government, the National Skills Academy for Nuclear was established as the industry’s lead strategic skills body for the industry to stimulate, enable and coordinate excellence in skills to support the UK nuclear programme. For the last three years the academy has been industry funded and many initiatives have been put in place to secure the supply of a suitably skilled and qualified workforce including: ●● developing and implementing a range of nuclear-focused programmes such as the Triple Bar for Nuclear; Award for Nuclear Industry Awareness; and Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism ●● the Nuclear Skills Passport to enable people to record and dem-
tonnes over a 20-year period and the offshore wind farm will cover 2,800 square km of sea. And you say nuclear is expensive? David M. Loxley, Pickering, N Yorks
Two-part tariffs are fairer I must disagree with Alan Teasdale’s view two-part electricity tariffs (ViewPoint, Profile 5/13). This tariff, with a standing charge and a unit rate, has been offered for many years because it sets out the two types of cost incurred in providing electricity in a sound economic way and fairly charges customers with different levels of energy use. Wrapping the fixed costs into the KWhr rate means that small users pay less than they cost, which unfairly discriminates against large users who would be paying more than they cost. By law, suppliers are not permitted to unfairly discriminate between customers. If it is thought necessary to have a price incentive to reduce consumption, this should be a matter for government policy, and could be done without discriminating between small and large users by, for example, increasing the rate of VAT on electricity. Graham Fowler, London
■■ Please note■ – letters may be edited
onstrate achievement of nationally agreed training standards ●● a competency framework for the nuclear industry so people can benchmark against this and see where skills gaps occur ●● The Nuclear Training Network to enable people to access relevant training and skills development – see www.nucleartrainingnetwork.com We are working hard with industry, trade unions such as Prospect and the government to ensure we have an industry and supply chain that can work in support of the nuclear new build programme, ensuring that UK individuals and companies benefit from this exciting development and the opportunities it creates. Jean Llewellyn, NSAN chief executive, Cockermouth
Celebrate women in engineering
The Women’s Engineering Society needs your help to raise the profile of engineering to young girls in advance of National Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2014, and to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering. We are asking people to do something positive on this day to support diversity in engineering and allied careers. Ideas range from organising an event, a visit, issuing a press release, launching a competition, writing a blog, speaking to a group of students or just tweeting your support. Resources will be available to help with events. See www.wes.org.uk/ nwed or email requests to info@ wes.org.uk. We aim to list all events on a dedicated website, so keep us posted. Dawn Bonfield, Women’s Engineering Society, Stevenage
Calendar shows progress on equality
During the early 1990s I worked in the operations section at Eastern Electricity headquarters in Wherstead, Ipswich. One day, a young Catherine Beresford, just starting her career, phoned me for guidance in understanding a somewhat abstruse
technical matter. I was pleased to be of assistance as my duties included training engineering staff to operate the distribution network. The conversation, which lasted about ten minutes, was overhead by my immediate boss. He was furious. “What do you mean by wasting all that time?” he asked, and then expressed his opinion of women who wanted to be engineers. He was not alone – another senior manager was also less than happy. Both these ‘gentlemen’ retired during the next few months. Fortunately, there were those of us with a more enlightened attitude and, of course, Catherine has proved her worth. It was a delight to open the November issue of Profile and see Catherine’s picture on page 11 and to make contact with her again. Alick Barnett, Felixstowe
Charity run makes SENSE
Steve Corrall, Edinburgh
Remember male victims of domestic violence There has been, quite rightly, a fair amount of coverage in the media on domestic violence following the rollout of Claire’s Law. The November issue of Profile had
an article ‘Safe from violence at home and work’ and a side bar, ‘Tackling domestic violence a priority for TUC’. The one thing in common that all this coverage had is it gave the impression that only women are the target of domestic violence. While most incidents are against women, there are a relatively small number of incidents of women being violent towards men. No doubt it also occurs in gay relationships as well. Can we please have a little equality in discussing this subject? Violence is wrong whoever is the victim. By the way, are there any refuges for men who are the victims of domestic violence, with or without their children? Mike Hayes, Rhondda, South Wales Editors’ reply: Ludo McFerran made it clear in her interview that the rights she has helped win also apply to male victims of domestic violence. The key principles for a workplace agreement are not, and should not be, gender specific. The TUC sidebar was also, deliberately, not gender specific. The charity Men’s Advice Line provides support and advice for male victims – see www. mensadviceline.org.uk
My campaign for child bereavement leave
Did you know that if your child dies your employer doesn’t have to give you time off from work? Three days’ unpaid leave seems to be the statutory time allowed, one of them for the funeral. My toddler son Jack (left) died suddenly, and I was to find this out for myself. That is why I have set up a petition to ask the government to create bereavement leave legislation to protect other parents. While many good employers offer compassionate leave, there is no statutory right to leave and this campaign aims to introduce two weeks of paid bereavement leave for parents. In the immediate aftermath of the death, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative and other arrangements such as inquests and post mortems. Twelve months off for the birth of a child and three days off for a child’s death is an inhumane anomaly and I ask for your help to get this changed.
Let Prospect stick up for you With reference to the letter from Jim Stone (ViewPoint, Profile, 5/13), I take no offence by the photo of me baking in my kitchen, which accompanied the article about my fight to win my job back. I could just as easily have been pictured in overalls working on our local athletic club pavilion, where I project managed a £60k refurbishment in 2012. At the end of the day I have had time to bake a lot of pies over the last four years and anyone who knows me will agree that I do
not fit into any stereotypes. On a more serious note, I also wanted to reinforce the message that if any member finds themselves the victim of an injustice then they should find the courage to stand firm and fight for their rights. Sometimes it can be tempting to take the line of least resistance, but be true to yourself and let Prospect defend you and protect your company agreement. It is in all of our interests at the end of the day. Charmian Heaton, Retford
I have also begun for 2014 giving talks on ‘Bereavement in the workplace’ to employers and charities, and organising and attending conferences to raise awareness of this issue – email email@example.com for more information about this. I am supported in my campaign by many organisations, including Child Bereavement UK, Cruse, the Lullaby Trust (formerly SIDs), various MPs, the TUC and individual trade unions. Please visit www.jacksrainbow. co.uk for more information, and to sign the petition. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter at @jacks_ rainbow and @chngbereavement Lucy Herd, Founder and speaker, Jacks Rainbow
like us on facebook /Prospectunion
follow us on twitter
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
I am a Prospect member and driving examiner and I am raising money for SENSE by running the 2014 London Marathon. In 2013 I completed the Edinburgh 5k and 10k runs and more recently the Glasgow half marathon. My chosen charity, SENSE, is for people and their families who have to live and cope with not only being deaf but blind as well. Deafblindness is a terrible condition that can affect children and adults. My target is to raise £1,500. Besides family and friends, I’ve had encouragement and support from Driving Standards Agency staff across the country. This is heartwarming since I have never met some of them. You can donate at www.justgiving.com/Steve-Corrall, text SJNC61, followed by the amount in pounds, to 70070 or post a cheque to me at DSA, 13 Bryce Rd, Currie, Edinburgh. EH14 5LT.
CROSSWORD • PUZZLES
Puzzles WORDWISE You have 15 minutes to find as many words as possible using the letters shown in the grid. Each word must contain four or more letters, one of which must be the letter in the central square. No letter can be used more than once in each word. No proper nouns, plurals or foreign words allowed.
R E R S
WordCount 20 average 35 brilliant 45+ amazing
There is one nineletter word. Today’s clue:
FEBRUARY 2014 ACROSS
1 Look for gold in anticipation (8) 6 Vote to return after dance (6) 9 Mineral used by one church in most of area (6) 10 A feeble ray of light shining faintly (8) 11 Jam brought round at teatime for the party (12) 13 Good man with no work to submit (5) 14 I name international fit although helplessly drunk (9) 17 Gabriel’s port (9) 19 Southern sailors’ pay (5) 21 Bunch of herbs or flowers I rang about (7,5) 24 All ivory had been removed from old instrument (4,4) 25 What to put first after 26 across (6) 26 Fitness as a result of having toast (6)
2 Attack made by soldiers I had concluded (4) 3 Mourning associated with ashes on coarse material (9) 4 Leon in uncommonly warm current (2,4) 5 Give and take in business? (5-2) 6 South American girl taken in by baron (8) 7 As far as something can go except in the case of speed where it can be exceeded (5) 8 Had too high an opinion of veal, devour without restraint (10)
12 Formalise 3-D sort (10) 15 Sly animal coming from the ocean? (6,3) 16 Remarkably keen and tall but only reaching halfway up one’s legs (4-4) 18 Encourage having somersault with drink (3-4) 20 In answer a serious mistake, this may be required (6)
Rearrange the letters of the following phrase to form a single word related to the phrase.
NINE THUMPS What familiar phrase or saying is represented here?
22 Bird, flinch! (5) 23 Button occupies no end of room (4)
THINKS... ? SOLUTIONS: 1 – Punishment. 2 – The tope of the morning. WORDWISE SOLUTION: Stretcher
DOWN: 2 Raid 3 Sackcloth 4 El Nino 5 Trade-in 6 Bolivian 7 Limit 8 Overvalued 12 Stereotype 15 Arctic fox 16 Knee-high 18 Egg-flip 20 Eraser 22 Quail 23 Stud.
CROSSWORD ANSWERS – ACROSS: 1 Prospect 6 Ballot 9 Zircon 10 Aglimmer 11 Conservative 13 Stoop 14 Incapable 17 Archangel 19 Screw 21 Bouquet garni 24 Lyra viol 25 Safety 26 Health 27 Peroxide.
Prospect • Profile – February 2014
27 Salesman came back with chemical bleach (8)
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FRANCE, Southern Brittany 2 bed house in picturesque town near to river & canal. Well equiped, BBQ, bikes, private garden/ patio. Prices from £155.00 per week. 10% discount for retired members. Phone 0161 432 5220
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Prospect • Profile - February 2014
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