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The Nationwide Group Staff Union magazine Summer 2011 – Issue 71

Marchingforthealternative CUTS ARE NOT THE CURE



NGSUcard inside...




71 JUN 11




It’s important that I’m up-to-date with the issues that are impacting on employees so in the last year I’ve made it a priority to attend events such as corporate cascades in the Branch Network and to run a series of Bill Blumsom, President ‘Roadshows’ at the Administration Centres. If you’ve been accosted in these locations by a strange man offering you a free NGSU Ice scraper – that was me! I’ve really enjoyed talking to members about the benefits of joining the Union. It’s been great to hear your views about issues like the pension review and pay and it really does help to inform the way the Union seeks to tackle issues on your behalf. Of course I can’t do these events on my own and I am regularly accompanied by colleagues from the Union and local Representatives – so big thanks to them for their help and enthusiasm. We’ve also been joined by Roger Benn from our Travel Club. who has negotiated some exclusive holiday offers, including a great London Theatre break just for NGSU members – check these out (page 13). Benenden Healthcare nurses have also been on hand to offer free health checks. These have been very popular and we hope to do more later in the year. One of the health issues we encounter is workplace stress and Benenden offer some tips on coping with stress (page 18). Workplace aggression can also be a contributor to stress and we examine some of the issues involved (pages 8/9). Finally, please see the article (page 10) about the Union’s National Conference in October. It’s an important way for members to give us feedback so please get involved. Enjoy the summer!

Unionlearn’s learning and careers advice service is a free, impartial, confidential service which helps people to develop new skills, improve their job prospects or change jobs. You can call the free impartial advice line on 08000 92 91 90 (free from a landline) and get advice on: • Restarting or refreshing your working life. Advisers can give you information on over 950,000 courses • The advice line can help you seek any funding that might be available • If you’re a person with disabilities, there’s help for you to make access to learning easier • You can also get advice on finding childcare while learning • And you can get help in nine different languages. Sally Dale, Partnership Manager at the Next Steps Advice Service, says advisers can help people work out what barriers are preventing them moving on before advising them about what’s available. “Our advisers can engage with people to unpick their history and identify what steps they need to make to move on successfully and sustainably – whether that’s promotion or joining a new team. “We can talk to them on a number of occasions to make meaningful interventions,” she says. The unionlearn website is packed with resources, including access to a Job Profiles section, which allows you to search more than 700 job profiles online.


Greening the workplace The TUC’s Greenworkplaces projects show how unions are leading the way with a wide range of imaginative initiatives on energy saving at work, waste reduction, recycling, green travel plans and many other ideas. Over 1,300 green reps replied to the 2009 survey of green workplaces carried out for the TUC by the Labour Research Department (LRD). The TUC is working with unions and management to deliver training and support in projects at, for example, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Leicester City Council, The National Library of Scotland, Corus and the National Union of Teachers. The GreenWorkplaces projects are supported by a unionlearn-led environmental education programme that took off in earnest three years ago. For course details visit:

HARD WORK WON’T KILL YOU… OR WILL IT? It maybe time to re-think the old adage about the effect of hardwork – at least that’s what researchers from University College London claim. The results of an 11 year study into the health of civil service employees found that working long hours can increase the risk of heart disease. The research suggests that people who worked 11 hours or more a day were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who worked shorter hours. The researchers have suggested that GPs should be discussing working hours with their patients as part of an approach to assessing someone’s risk of developing heart disease – along with other well established heart risk factors such as high blood pressure. Working long hours can be a contributory factor to workplace stress – see our tips on page 18 about managing your stress levels provided by Benenden Healthcare.

TRANSFER TALKS Members of the union One Union Regional Staff (OURS), which represents employees of the Cheshire and Derbyshire Building Societies, are being invited to vote on a proposal to transfer engagements of the Union to NGSU. If OURS members vote in favour, and the transfer is approved by the Certification Officer, which regulates trade union activity, the transfer could take place in the Autumn. Tim Poil, NSGU General Secretary, said: “We are delighted that OURS are considering transferring to NGSU. If approved it will mean that NGSU will represent employees across all parts of Nationwide and the Regional Brands and this will strengthen our influence across the Nationwide Group. OURS members can be sure of a warm welcome if they decide to transfer to NSGU and we will seek to carry on the good work of OURS in looking after the collective and individual terms of members in Cheshire and Derbyshire.”

Keep us handy You never know when you may need some help at work so why not pull out and keep this business card handy – it has all our contact details so you can get in touch with us quickly. We’ve also added telephone numbers of some of our most popular benefits, including our free legal helpline and travel club to help you make the most of your membership.



Putting a e u l a v r e h g i h on staff NGSU has called on Nationwide to make relations with staff a bigger priority Nationwide lost sight of the importance of maintaining good employee relations in the drive to survive the recession, says NGSU, which has now agreed new ways of working with the Society to improve life for staff. The Union was alarmed over a number of issues last year: the very high number of disciplinary cases – many called for inappropriate reasons; a significant increase in the number of grievances; internal measure of stress levels being ‘red’ over 12 months; unfair practices, such as very high levels of ‘part-met’ ratings at performance reviews and growing dissatisfaction with Nationwide from Union members across all feedback channels. The Employee Involvement Committee (EIC) provides the formal structure for consultation between NGSU and Nationwide and in the past six months has been debating concerns raised by the Union, in particular, whether the Society truly sees employees as a valued resource. “The past couple of years have been difficult and there have been many changes within Nationwide that have seen significant job losses and a change in culture. The Union has been getting increasingly concerned about the working environment and over the course of last

summer we saw a combination of factors coming together that we felt were potentially damaging to the business. At the EIC meeting in September 2010 we highlighted these issues to the Society in a presentation entitled: Employees – a Valued Resource?” says Tim Poil, General Secretary. “NGSU is very proud to be a staff union. As such we share many of the same aims as the Society – a successful business means better terms and conditions for employees. Our presentation was therefore intended to be constructive and was given as a concerned stakeholder. The potential impact of the issues we were seeing included loss of discretionary effort; loss of emotional engagement and loss of brand advocacy. These factors have knock-on effects on customer service and we felt there was evidence to suggest external commentators were starting to pick-up on this. They also give rise to other business costs, such as high employee turnover with the associated loss of skills and a negative impact on motivation with a consequent loss of productivity.” Society representatives on the EIC, headed by Tony Prestedge and including senior managers from HR, gave a respectful hearing and agreed to explore many of the issues raised. Since then there has been an ongoing dialogue and in April NGSU met with Divisional Directors from across all operational areas to widen the scope of the debate. “It’s fair to say that the Society doesn’t share our assessment of all areas of the discussion but does acknowledge that where there is a disparity of views this is worthy of further investigation to establish why this is so. There is also a commitment to strengthening communication between us to ensure consultation is working properly and that the Union is able to bring an appropriate level of influence,” says Tim. “I am optimistic that the debate we’ve had at the EIC will help set the tone for more constructive

‘The past couple of years have been difficult and there have been many changes within Nationwide that have seen significant job losses and a change in culture’


dialogue between the Society and the Union and that the relationship between us is set to improve. The recently concluded pension consultation has demonstrated the value for both parties in working together. Closure of the final salary scheme could have led to an acrimonious and volatile situation – instead through sensible debate we have established a good and sustainable Defined Benefit arrangement for existing Fund members in a way that helps the business address some of the cost issues, “ adds Tim. The next big test for relations between NGSU and Nationwide will be the 2011 pay review. “We have a number of concerns about the current approach to pay, particularly in respect of our longer serving members who have been excluded from pay increases in recent years. The initial discussions we’d had are encouraging and I hope that we can begin to move forward on some of these issues,” explains Tim. He adds: “There is no doubt that the past couple of years have been very difficult and potentially damaging to the way employees perceive and respond to the business. Throughout this period the Union has been a constant voice speaking up on behalf of employees and I’m pleased that our messages have begun to be heard and help get the Society get back to a situation where employees truly feel valued.”

TALKS BETWEEN THE UNION AND SOCIETY WILL LEAD TO THE FOLLOWING CHANGES: • Business Committees, which currently provide the forum for consultation about change programmes, take on a much wider brief of assessing employment indicators, such as viewpoint results and disciplinary and grievance issues • Local Union Representatives will play an important role in these Committees and it has never been more important to have an active network of Representatives. If any member is interested in getting more involved in the way the Union engages with the Society please get in touch • The process of consultation about change programmes will move from the individual Business Committees to a single Change Committee. NGSU welcomes this development as it will enable best practice to be developed and for change to be coordinated in a better way.

The Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) is a formal meeting between the Union and Human Resources (HR) and has delegated authority from the EIC to deal with the day-to-day issues between the parties. Over recent months the Union has raised concerns about the calibration and appeals processes within Performance Management; the recording of telephone calls and impact on privacy; the way the Society makes ‘reasonable adjustments’ (to support employees with disabilities) and the way it fulfils its obligations under the Equality Act 2010. The Society has been keen to lead a debate about flexible working and developing new working arrangements that more closely meet changing business needs. Issues that cannot be resolved are escalated to the EIC. The JCC meets monthly and a summary of each meeting is posted as a News Item on the Union website. Matters such a pay are referred to the Joint Negotiation Committee (JNC). This reflects the difference between issues which are subject to ‘consultation’ – where the objective is to reach ‘mutual agreement’ but ultimately decisions rest with the Society and ‘negotiation’ which require the agreement of both parties. If matters for negotiation cannot be resolved they are referred to internal and external dispute procedures ending with ACAS facilitating binding arbitration.


71 JUN 11

Exchange@Rapport magazine, Middleton Farmhouse, 37 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX17 2QT

Farmhouse on et dl id M m fro w vie e Th og Bl ’s Tim able to make some progress e on this issue but in the meantim we’ve asked Benenden Healthcare to give some guidance about coping with stress and you can read this on page 18. KC PHOTOGRAP HY

Tim Poil, General Secretary

How time flies! Just a few months ago we were in the midst of the Pension Fund review and as I write now we are in deep into negotiations about this year’s pay review. It seems to be a feature of modern working life that there is rarely a chance to reflect on achievements before moving on to the next task. The pressure to keep performing can be a good thing – some pressure can help to keep you motivated and productive. But too much pressure can turn into stress and there comes a point when this can have a serious and damaging impact on physiological and psychological health. We are currently talking to Nationwide about doing more to raise awareness of workplace stress and to remind everyone of their responsibilities to minimise the impacts of stress. I hope we’ll be

We were generally pleased with the outcome of the Pension Fund Review – securing a good and sustainable defined benefit pension scheme was better than many members were expecting. The Union’s policy in respect of pensions was determined at our National Conference. Members now have the chance to suggest topics for debate at our next Conference later this year. Please make the most of this opportunity to help decide future union policy – our president, Bill Blumsom, tells you how on page 10. If you are a regular reader of Union Mail (our monthly newsletter) you’ll know that I keep making the point that our ability to influence the outcome of issues such as the Pension Review is greatly enhanced by the strength of our membership. The past few years have been very challenging in this respect. As you’ll see from our annual accounts, on page 16, our subscription income has fallen significantly over the past two years. This is a direct result of members leaving due to

redundancy at Nationwide – membership has fallen by over 2000 during this period. We still represent over 70% of the workforce but we do need to sustain and grow membership to help meet the challenges ahead. Please help us by encouraging colleagues who aren’t members to join. Our fall in income has meant that I’ve had to make some tough decisions in order to keep the Union’s finances in good order. Sadly, this has meant some Union employees have left by means of redundancy. Through some careful control of costs we managed to make a small operating surplus in 2010 but had to dip into reserves to cover the one-off redundancy costs. Our assets remain strong and e the measures we have taken leav us well placed for the future. In the Autumn we will be embarking on our election process for the next term of National Executive Committee members and constituency representatives. If you’re interested in taking a more active role in working with the Union, make sure to look out for details of the vacancies on our website and in Union Mail.

What is your name? Sharon Greenhalgh


DRUG AWARE AT WORK There is growing concerns about some employees being more open about drug use and the possibility of drugs being sold in admin centres as well as outside them. Tim Rose, Assistant General Secretary, says there is concern that language about drugs has changed and that contributes to a lack of awareness. “For instance people being oblivious to activity happening around them. Our interest is obviously about making sure people don’t find themselves in trouble and that they get access to proper support, “ he says. Both Nationwide and Dunfermline have policies on the subject, recognising that drug addiction and alcohol abuse are diseases requiring medical diagnosis and treatment and pledging support and assistance whilst treatment is undertaken. But staff are warned that if, by failing to do so, standards of performance, attendance and Nationwide's public image are affected, it will result in disciplinary action. The Dunfermline policy further states that all employees share a collective responsibility to support the Society in terms of ensuring the organisation promotes an environment that is free from drug and alcohol misuse. Employees are not permitted to bring alcohol or illegal drugs onto the premises, nor are they allowed to be on the premises whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs (unless part of an approved corporate or social function), it adds. HELP AT HAND Drug and alcohol use can massively increase the risk of accidents, and extended use can cause untold harm to people's personal and working lives, says the TUC’s Worksmart site which contains lots of informationand support. Alcoholics Anonymous offers help and advice to anyone who needs supportby calling 0207 833 0022. The Talk to Frank website provides information and advice on drugs, including street names for drugs to help raise awareness.

We welcome views from our readers on any subject, so if you have something to say, write to us at the address above marking your envelope ‘Letters’.

What is your job title? Digital Development Team Manager What is your NGSU role? I am the Department Rep for Internet Channels, Sharon Greenhalgh Disciplinary Officer, and also Regional Officer on the National Executive Committee. What is the most common issue? When a joint statement or some other HR communication is issued, people normally come with queries or questions. What websites do you use? Google mainly, as it’s a hive of information! I also regularly use ‘You and Nationwide’ on the intranet, as well as the NGSU website and forum. Working in Internet Channels, I’m also an advocate for the Internet Bank! In my own time, I love trawling through websites for shoes and clothes! What papers do you read? The Daily Mail, but online rather than paying for it! What do you like about Union work? Helping people, supporting people and ensuring that they are treated fairly. I also enjoy communicating with people and I ensure that the union members within my department are kept up-to-date with all union publications or news. How do you relax? Using/playing with my iPad, playing netball and darts, and I also enjoy taking my loopy Labrador dog for walks!



Target aggression at work – deal with angry customers by learning to spot the early warning signs, says the Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Standing up to

aggression As economic uncertainty continues, it is likely that more customers will struggle financially. If they are having problems with their mortgage, selling their house or because of loss of earnings due to the drop in interest rates on their savings, they may be more anxious. It’s possible this anxiety and even desperation could turn to aggression and even violence against staff. In order to manage aggression effectively, we need to know how to recognise early warning signals and make an appropriate assessment of the situation. We also need the skills to manage our own behaviour and improve our own verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Early Warning Signals Someone who is becoming potentially violent will nearly always give off early warning signs and signals. These can include: Tapping the table; loud speech; muscles tension in face; hands or limbs; fidgeting; hand wringing; finger wagging or jabbing; pacing, staring eyes;

NATIONWIDE POLICY Please report any incident of violence or abuse by following the procedure in the Managing Customer Conflict Policy – available on the Intranet. This will ensure you get the support you need and help identify actions to help keep the workplace safe.

sweating; over sensitivity to what is being said; rapid moods swings; rapid unpredictable arm movements; speed of speech. Learn to recognise warning signals and be prepared to act on them to calm the situation before the aggression escalates. The aim should be to choose to act appropriately when dealing with aggression and violence, rather than reacting in a manner that could escalate the situation.

Managing Our Own Behaviour Assertiveness The first step is to show the other person that you are listening, that we understand their point of view and recognise their right to say what they think. The second step is to say what your desired outcome is. This does not mean that you are going to get this; however it can help towards forming a workable compromise.

‘In order to manage aggression effectively, we need to know how to recognise early warning signals’ FOR 25 YEARS SUZY LAMPLUGH TRUST HAS BEEN HELPING PEOPLE TO LEAD SAFER LIVES In 1986 Suzy Lamplugh, a 25 year old estate agent disappeared after she went to meet an unknown client. So far her body has not been found. However, she has been presumed murdered and legally declared dead. Her parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, believed that Suzy, like most people at that time – and even now – was simply unaware of the possible dangers that individuals can face in society. Paul and Diana founded the Trust to highlight the risks people face and to offer advice, action and support to minimise those risks.

Non-Verbal Communication Non-verbal communication is extremely influential. Only 7% of a message is conveyed with words, whereas 55% is conveyed by body language and 38% by tone of voice. Be particularly wary of give-away gestures such as twiddling thumbs or looking at the clock – often signs of boredom, or rubbing your chin, which is often a sign of doubting what is being said. You may think that what you are saying and even your facial expression is portraying concern and empathy but the above ‘leakage’ will give you away every time. Posture is also a very strong clue as to how someone is feeling. A confident, assertive person is likely to have a relaxed, upright posture. So by sitting relaxed, just slightly slumped with upright head and alert eyes, you will indicate confident interest on your part. Avoid sitting with your bottom a long way forward in your seat, with your legs For mo re guid extended and your head forward or your ance a nd info hands behind your head, as this rmation visit www. indicates an attitude of superiority. Active Listening This is about not only listening carefully but also showing that you are listening and understanding

or call

suzylam plug 020 70 91 0014

what is being said – by nodding, taking notes, asking for points to be clarified and so on. Listening well is not a natural skill. Most people are so intent on interrupting and saying their piece that they miss half of what is being said to them.

Achieving a Positive Outcome If a customer arrives looking upset, try to correctly identify their feelings and what the cause might be. If you are uncertain, don’t guess their emotions – don’t assume they are angry when they could be scared. Ask questions if you are not sure eg. “You look upset that...”. This opens the way for them to explain their feelings. This helps to calm the situation and build a rapport, as it lets them know that not only do you understand what they are feeling but also why they are feeling that way. The next step is to let them know that you are ready to help them deal with the situation and make sure they take part in deciding on the solution. If practical, make the first step towards achieving the solution then and there, eg. Don’t just say you will start the ball rolling by calling someone/changing an account etc, do it in front of them so that they can see you mean what you say. Finally, never promise something you can’t deliver and if you have agreed to do something as part of the resolution, you need to take responsibility to ensure that this is done. Failing to do so will only create increased aggression in the future. Be Prepared to Exit the Situation Dealing with upset, agitated and potentially aggressive or violent individuals is a skill that can be learnt and once learnt it can make working life a lot easier and safer. However, some aggressors are beyond control and if, when assessing a particular situation, you feel this is fast becoming the case, your first priority should be to get away. Always have an excuse ready for such an emergency, eg. You need to go and ask somebody something/get some paperwork that will help solve the problem.



1 1 0 2 e c n e r e f Con

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Help your Union decide what its priorities should be in the workplace Now is your opportunity to help decide what topics the Union should be addressing over the next two years. NGSU President, Bill Blumsom, answers your questions about the process Q How do individual members have a say in deciding what the Union does? A The Union exists to protect the interests of our members at work. We do that best when members tell us what issues are important to them and how they would like to see them change. The NGSU National Conference provides the opportunity to do this. Any member can submit a topic of concern or idea for change for discussion and set out what they’d like to see done about it. At the Conference delegates debate these concerns/ideas and vote to decide which ones

the Union should adopt as policy. The National Executive Committee and negotiating team will then work towards achieving the agreed policy goals.

Q What types of issues can be raised at Conference? A Members can put forward ideas from a broad range of topics. These ideas are then formed into conference ‘Motions’. A motion can be about an issue at work or about the Union’s rules or the services we provide. In the past we’ve also debated the Union’s wider responsibilities within society, for example, our charitable reserve was set-up in response to a motion raised at Conference. Q Are there any particular work issues you are expecting to be raised at Conference? A We are regularly contacted about a range of issues, including the approach to pay for those at the top of their pay range; overtime and TOIL; an expectation to work long hours and the way performance ratings are determined. I won’t be surprised if these emerge as topics for discussion but it’s up to NGSU members to set our Conference agenda by submitting ideas for motions. Q Who can submit a Motion to Conference and how do they do this? A Members can suggest topics for debate at Conference, including our newest members in Dunfermline. Once we’ve received an idea, a

Representative from the appropriate Regional Council will contact the member to discuss it. The Union rules say that, normally, only elected Representatives can present a motion to Conference. The Rep will consult with the member about wording a Motion and will arrange for a delegate from the Council to propose the motion at Conference. Members can submit ideas for Motions on our website or complete and return the form below.

Conference motions and nominations for Rep of the Year can also be submitted online at

Q Does a member who submits the idea for the Motion need to attend Conference? A No unless they are a nominated delegate from their Regional Council. Each Council is entitled to send a number of delegates based on the total number of members in that Region. Delegates from the Region will propose and second Motions submitted by their members. Q How will a member know if Conference has voted in favour of their Motion? A A full list of Motions and the results of Conference votes will be published on the Union’s website in October.

NGSU National Co nference takes place on 10 /11 October 2011 at the Barce lo Hotel, Daventry.

More details about Conference at k

Rebecca McKenzie Rep of the Year 2009


REP OF THE YEAR Our Constituency Representatives play an important role for the Union – working on behalf of local members and keeping us in touch with local issues whilst keeping up their day job with the Society. We like to recognise their achievements by inviting members to nominate their local Rep for our Rep of Year award – to be presented at our National Conference in October. If you’d like to acknowledge the contribution of your local Rep please find a few minutes to fill in the nomination form below, or go onto the website – just follow the links for Conference on our home page.



This Conference believes/proposes/instructs/requests/ seeks assurance/expresses/rejects (select as appropriate)

I think my Rep has done a great job and deserves an extra pat on the back. Name of Representative:



Employee Number:

Nominated by:

Branch Department:

Reason for Nomination:

Contact Number:

Please complete and return this form to: Bill Blumsom, NGSU, 37 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Oxon OX17 2QT Conference Motions can also be submitted online at: Motions must be received by Friday 19 August 2011. Inclusion in the Conference agenda is subject to Union Rules and ratification by the Standing Orders Committee. The rule book is available online at or call 01295 710767 for a copy.

Please complete and return this form to: Bill Blumsom, NGSU, 37 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Oxon OX17 2QT Nominations can also be submitted online at:




Tim Poil describes events at the March for the Alternative attended by some half a million people

Marching for change “I was immediately struck by the scene and the buoyant atmosphere – there was a real buzz and sense of euphoria and a great feeling of being involved in a common cause. Although the march was organised by the TUC it was apparent that there was a broad coalition of people taking part – union members, charity workers, politicians and people who just felt passionate about the impact that the proposed cuts would have. From chatting to those around me it was clear how worried people are about the full impact of the cuts and what they will mean for public services and charities. Although everyone shared the same concern at the cuts the overall mood was very good natured and it certainly did feel like the fun family event that the TUC intended. As we passed some of the government buildings a number of high profile politicians seemed to suddenly appear and join the march – I found myself walking alongside Peter Hain. It seems that most commentators are generally agreed that there were around 500,000 marchers but it seemed to me that there were tens of thousands lining the streets watching and cheering as the march went past – much like for the London marathon. This added to the general atmosphere and scale of the protest.”

THE AIMS OF THE MARCH 1 To give a national voice to all those affected by the cuts. 2 To show that people reject the argument that there is no alternative.

Brendan Barber

STRONG & UNITED Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, told the marchers: “Together we are sending a clear message to the government: that we are strong and united, that we will fight their savage cuts and that we will not let them destroy people’s services, people’s jobs and people’s lives. Young and old, black and white, men and women we have come from every walk of life and every part of Britain. Trade unionists, members of voluntary groups and local community organisations, people terrified of losing their jobs and what that means for their families, people who see the axe looming over absolutely vital services on which they rely, the home helps for the elderly, the Sure Start Centres for children, the refuges for the victims of violent domestic abuse. We’ve come together not just to oppose the cuts, but to call for a new approach to rebuilding our economy rooted in social justice, in place of this tide of economic destruction. The government claim there is no alternative. But there is. Let’s keep people in work and get our economy growing. Let’s get tax revenues flowing and tackle the tax cheats. And let’s have a Robin Hood Tax on the banks, so they pay us back for the mess they caused.”



s e v i s u l c x e Holiday From

Have you tried the NGSU Travel £pe1r pe9rs9on Club yet? Enjoy an extra exclusive NGSU discount on top of great discounted prices The Travel Club will try to beat the price of any holiday booked through the big Tour Operators like Thomson, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, and Virgin. They also work with all of the smaller operators to get you fantastic deals. Take a look at these offers specially priced just for NGSU members. Call the Travel Hotline for more information on these and many other offers – you’ve got nothing to lose! What’s in it for us? If we can get you a great holiday and a discount that saves some or all of your Union subscriptions – we’re all happy! Cruise & Maritime Voyages Two Night Dublin Party Weekend, departing Liverpool on 1 October 2011. Overnight on the Ocean Countess, includes five course dinner, show and caberet/disco and one night B&B at the Regency Hotel and return to Liverpool.


0800 9531 263 The NGSU Travel Club aim to beat any other travel agent, tour operator or internet price. The NGSU Travel Club is operated on our behalf by Benchmark Travel Ltd.


Balkan Holidays Seven nights skiing in Pamporovo, Bulgaria – self catering. Departs from Gatwick on 24 March 2012. Holiday4U From * Seven nights B&B in Leda per person Hotel, Ovacik, Turkey. Flight from Bournemouth on 15 Sept 2011. Departures also available from 17 regional airports.




per person sharing


£149 per person

Funway From * Three Nights Viva Las Vegas – per person staying at Circus Circus and including Virgin Atlantic economy flights from Gatwick to Las Vegas and a Neon Nights air tour – any dates between 1 Nov 2011 and 28 Feb 2012.


* Based on two adults sharing. † Based on four people sharing a two bedroom apartment.

NGSU LONDON THEATRE BREAK Come and join us for this exclusive NGSU weekend in London! This great discounted break includes B&B in the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury and tickets for Legally Blonde, The Musical (Winner of the Best New Musical 2011) or Ghost, the Musical. Optional excursions include a London Duck Tour and Flights on the London Eye. One or Two nights available over Fri/Sat 14/15 October 2011 – choice of ticket prices available – please call for details. Example: Fri 14 October; one night B&B and best priced theatre ticket – £99 pps.


71 JUN 11

Update@Rapport magazine, Middleton Farmhouse, 37 Main Road, Middleton Cheney, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX17 2QT

Is it compulsory to attend Corporate Cascade meetings in the evening? If I do attend can I claim overtime or do I have to take Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) instead? It is not compulsory to attend a work activity if it is falls outside of your contractual hours. If you do attend however, it will be classed as voluntary overtime and contractual overtime rates are payable. If your Area will not pay overtime and you do not want to take TOIL instead, you do not have to attend the cascade.


I am a Saturday Assistant and have been told by my supervisor that I can no longer have my usual 45-minute rest break when working from 9 am to 3 pm on a Saturday. I’ve queried this with Ask HR who confirm that I can only take a 20-minute break. Is this correct and when did the policy change? If you are on the specific Saturday Assistant contract then the terms of the Rest Break Policy still apply to you. The HR manual states that if you work more than 4 hours on a Saturday you will be granted paid breaks as follows: • Over 4 hours but less than 5 Break of 15 minutes • 5 hours but less than 6 Break of 20 minutes • 6 or more hours break of 45 minutes The time the break is taken must be agreed with your manager and will be




dependent on employee numbers and customer traffic. I am feeling pressured at work to achieve higher targets. My Manager now wants at least 150%, he says I could work extra hours with no overtime to achieve this by phoning customers after work. Do I have to do that, and what will happen if I don’t? I am finding this very stressful and have been to see my doctor who has diagnosed stress and anxiety. Branch targets are set using sophisticated modelling, which determines the ‘potential’ for sales from the customer base in the catchment area for the branch. Although setting ‘aspirational’ targets is a useful way to motivate people to exceed targets your performance should only be measured against your actual target and you shouldn’t be pressurised to do extra hours. Remember, working overtime after normal hours is strictly on a voluntary basis and requires your agreement and you do not have to do this. If you continue to feel under pressure please call the Union and speak to an Individual Cases Officer.



If you have a work or union related question you need answered write to us at the address at the top of the page marking your envelope ‘Q&A’.

EDITORIAL BOARD Bill Blumsom, President Jo Thomson, Union ICO Tim Rose, Assistant General Secretary EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Astrid Stubbs


NGSU Middleton Farmhouse 37 Main Road Middleton Cheney Banbury Oxon 0X17 2QT Phone: 01295 710767 Fax: 01295 712580 email: Web: PRESIDENT Bill Blumsom GENERAL SECRETARY Tim Poil ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY (MEMBERS) Marian Dean ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY (SERVICES) Tim Rose INDIVIDUAL CASES OFFICERS Angela Needham (Northampton) Carol Hunter (North) Karin McKenzie (NH) Diana Pitman (South & BAC) Ray Ponsford (Central/London) Derek Richards (NH) Jo Thomson (Central) ADMINISTRATION MANAGER Juliet Harris BENEFIT SCHEMES RJW Legal Helpline: 0800 9169063 Personal Injury: 0800 9169064 NGSU Travel Club: 0800 9531 263 IFS Life Insurance Helpline: 01453 755195



Prize Winners on Wednesday 1 December 2010 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Margaret Harrison Susan Perry John Bushell Lesley Wollen Steve Hatherall Karan Johnson

Basildon Accrington Pension Fund Member Mailroom & Scanning – Hawksworth Print Services Maidstone

075759 091692 087158 080895 078438 077515

£11,925 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500

Prize Winners on Wednesday 5 January 2011 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Gillian King Rupal Patel Diane Brownsell Patricia Tuttlebee James Reed Mark Griffiths

GI Strategy & Development PMO Testing Great Dunmow Application Services Internet Channels

094886 121942 119619 094605 099380 107030

£11,795 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500

Prize Winners on Wednesday 2 February 2011 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Francesca Sorrenti Ian Armstrong Michelle Hirst Barry Giles Shelley Adams Lucy Irons

Account Maintenance Project Management Testing ND Sales NAC Eclectic Ellesmere Port Training

082819 076062 116362 082687 085152 119162

£11,648 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500

Prize Winners on Wednesday 2 March 2011 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Gillian Frankland Debra Andrew Angela Bullman Marc Pugh Louise Lockey Diane Walker

Harleston Goole Basildon Build BSI Wigan (Market Place)

089880 099556 085710 093532 109629 075586

£11,642 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500

Prize Winners on Wednesday 6 April 2011 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Lorraine Brunton Amanda Baldwin Lynn Cummings Daniel Lockyer Debbie Thorn Wendy Linnell

Westerham Area Office – Northamptonshire BSI Hedge End Associate Member Northampton (Kingsley Park)

121765 096681 116759 111698 105527 108481

£11,623 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500

Prize Winners on Wednesday 4 May 2011 Prize Chance Sum



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 4th

Richard Munn Gail Gee Kevin Payne Christine Harris Kaye Brody Martin Watts

IT Infrastructure Rushden BSI Exmouth Pension Fund Member Treasury & Commercial

110637 116977 088326 076449 088561 104460

£11,597 £5,000 £2,000 £500 £500 £500


DISCIPLINARY HEARING FALL WELCOMED The number of formal hearings relating to performance and conduct issues among staff fell slightly in 2010. There were 906 hearings (involving 797 employees) in 2010 compared to 1,043 (involving 906 employees) recorded in 2009. Of these, 137 resulted in the employee being dismissed, down from 238 in 2010. The main reasons for dismissal were poor behaviour (33); poor performance (29); fraud (22) and time keeping/absence (21). “The fall in the number of hearings and dismissals is to be welcomed and we hope this improving picture continues in 2011,” says NGSU Assistant General Secretary Marian Dean. “We have criticised the Society over the past two years or so for being too quick to instigate disciplinary action when other less damaging interventions are available. It’s something that we regularly discuss with HR and I’m pleased that we’ve made some progress but there’s still more that can be done to help managers tackle issues without resorting to formal proceedings.” Society statistics also reveal the number of formal grievances for the first time – there were 100 grievances lodged in 2010. The issues arising fell within the broad categories of equality opportunities; flexible working; harassment, pay; performance ratings and working relationships. “I’m pleased that the Society has started to record and track the number of grievances although I suspect there were rather more than the figures suggest,” says Marian. “Although grievances are usually about individual issues they are an indicator of the overall state of employee relations and culture. Ideally most situations should be capable of an informal resolution but it is important that employees believe they can raise concerns without fear of any come Do you need he lp w back or victimisation. Work? Are you ith a problem at are facing a dis We’ll be monitoring the cip or capability he aring or believe linary approach to grievances yo not being treate u are over the coming months d fairly? and talking to the The Union help s me business about where like these. Som mbers with issues etimes it's just improvements could go talk a problem through. Every od to be made.”

thin tell us will be k ept strictly con g you fide and we won't ta ke any action o ntial n your behalf unless yo u want us to. Call NGSU on 0 1295 710767



Income & Expenditure Account

GENERAL FUND Year Ended 31 December 2010 note Income: Subscriptions Other Income Expenditure: Services to Members Meeting Expenses Administration Expenses Premises Costs Equipment Costs Depreciation VAT Recovered


2 3 4 5 6

2010 ÂŁ

2009 ÂŁ

998,248 112,304 1,110,552

1,073,225 141,838 1,215,063

825,367 49,618 110,489 31,466 73,933 18,765 [9,651] 1,099,987

882,915 44,717 124,948 38,949 75,089 17,767 [7,849] 1,176,536









(Defecit)/Surplus Retained for the Year



Accumulated Surplus Brought Forward



Accumulated Surplus Carried Forward



Operating Surplus for the Year Non Operating Expenditure (redundancy payments) (Defecit)/Surplus Retained after Non Operating Items Transfer to Charitable Fund

BALANCE SHEET at 31 December 2010 2010




50,999 314,986 365,985

37,452 384,410 421,862

Current Liabilities Creditors and Accruals



Net Current Assets





637,256 12,599

668,191 18,599



note Fixed Assets Tangible fixed assets


Current Assets Debtors and prepayments Cash at bank and in hand

Represented by: Accumulated Surplus General Fund Charitable Fund

T R Poil, General Secretary S Barnes, Treasurer Approved 18 May 2011

Income & Expenditure Account

Union General Fund Expenditure


Year Ended 31 December 2010

2010 Income: Transfer from General Fund Donations



12,000 311 12,311

6,000 6,000

600 600

(Deficit)/Surplus for the Year



Accumulated Surplus Brought Forward



Accumulated Surplus Carried Forward



Expenditure: Donations

8% Costs ment Equip 3% ts os sC ise em Pr

Year Ended 31 December 2010

Adm in E xpe nse s


Meeting Expe nses 5%

Services to Members 74%

Notes to the accounts 1 OTHER INCOME Advertising revenue Bank interest Draws and lotteries: Draw income Prizes awarded Insurance commission Other commission Sundry income 2 SERVICES TO MEMBERS Magazine costs LawExpress Legal and professional TUC affiliation fee Postage Publications Staff costs Telephone Training Disciplinary and grievance meetings Website costs 3 MEETING EXPENSES National Conference Area Council National Executive TUC Meetings Other meetings 4 ADMINISTRATION EXPENSES Audit and accountancy Accountancy systems Bank and legal costs Printing and stationery Recruitment Staff costs Sundry expenses 5 PREMISES COSTS Cleaning Insurance Rent and rates Repairs Utilities Flat expenses 6 EQUIPMENT COSTS Maintenance and leasing Motor Office and computer

7. TANGIBLE FIXED Land & Office ASSETS Buildings Equipment At 1 January 2010 420,642 56,232 Additions 1,786 Disposals At 31 December 2010 420,642 58,018 ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION At 1 January 2010 73,605 41,467 Charge for the year 6,413 5,535 Relating to disposals At 31 December 2010 80,018 47,002 NET BOOK VALUE At 31 December 2010 340,624 11,016 At 31 December 2009 347,037 14,765

2010 £

2009 £

1,500 2,258

2,250 1,635

333,292 (249,977) 14,881 8,125 2,225 112,304

362,845 (272,023) 19,094 9,678 18,359 141,838

21,545 77,505 31,454 12,361 8,194 639,803 12,989 916 14,316 6,284 825,367

25,231 16,416 99,202 33,375 9,511 7,318 650,862 14,811 1,292 17,353 7,544 882,915

17,500 4,904 3,497 1,480 22,237 49,618

3,707 3,434 7,997 1,545 28,034 44,717

14,276 6,383 12,096 2,419 3,664 67,283 4,368 110,489

13,414 14,490 11,150 3,959 4,311 73,654 3,970 124,948

4,598 3,187 13,273 1,051 7,104 2,253 31,466

4,625 2,488 13,763 6,393 10,146 1,534 38,949

50,532 23,401 73,933

52,724 22,365 75,089

Computer Equipment 91,584 10,466 102,050

Total Cost: 568,458 12,252 580,710

78,127 6,817 84,944

193,199 18,765 211,964

17,106 13,457

368,746 375,259

8 POST BALANCE SHEET EVENTS On 1 January 2011 the Dunfermline Building Society transferred its engagements to Nationwide Group Staff Union.

INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED TO MEMBERS UNDER THE TRADE UNION AND LABOUR RELATIONS (CONSOLIDATION) ACT 1992 (AMENDED) Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amended), the Union is required to circulate all members with details of the salary and benefits provided to the General Secretary, the President and all members of the National Executive Committee. The President and members of the National Executive Committee do not receive any salary from the Union or any benefits. They are reimbursed for any expenditure incurred by them in the performance of their duties on behalf of the Union as is the General Secretary. The details in respect of the General Secretary are as follows: Salary £105,012 Benefits: Pension Contributions £10,501 (The Union makes contributions of 10% of salary on behalf of all staff) Insurance £1,648 Car allowance £7,975 We are also required by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amended) to circulate the following declaration to all members. The wording is as prescribed by the Act. “A member who is concerned that some irregularity may be occurring, or have occurred, in the conduct of the financial affairs of the union may take steps with a view to investigating further, obtaining clarification and, if necessary, securing regularisation of that conduct. The member may raise any such concerns with such one or more of the following as it seems appropriate to raise it with: the officials of the union, the trustees of the property of the union, the auditor or auditors of the union, the Certification Officer (who is an independent officer appointed by the Secretary of State) and the police. Where a member believes that the financial affairs of the union have been or are being conducted in breach of the law or in breach of rules of the union and contemplates bringing civil proceedings against the union or responsible officials or trustees, he should consider obtaining independent legal advice.” REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT AUDITORS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONWIDE GROUP STAFF UNION We have audited the financial statements of the Nationwide Group Staff Union for the year ended 31 December 2010. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice). This report is made solely to the Union’s members, as a body. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the Union’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor’s report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone

other than the Union and the Union’s members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed. Respective responsibilities of the Union’s National Executive Committee and auditors As explained more fully in the Statement of Responsibilities of the National Executive Committee, the Union’s National Executive Committee is responsible for the preparation of financial statements which give a true and fair view. Our responsibility is to audit and express an opinion on the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). Those standards require us to comply with the Auditing Practices Board’s Ethical Standards for Auditors. Scope of the audit of the financial statements An audit involves obtaining evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from material misstatement, whether caused by fraud or error. This includes an assessment of: whether the accounting policies are appropriate to the Union’s circumstances and have been consistently applied and adequately disclosed; the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by the Union’s National Executive Committee; and the overall presentation of the financial statements. Opinion on financial statements In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the Union’s affairs as at 31 December 2010 and of its income and expenditure for the year then ended. Matters on which we are required to report by exception We are required by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amended) to report to you by exception in respect of the following matters if, in our opinion: • A satisfactory system of control over transactions has not been maintained. • The Union has not kept proper accounting records. • The financial statements are not in agreement with the books of account. • We have not received all the information and explanations we need for our audit. We have nothing to report to you in respect of the above matters. H W FISHER & COMPANY Chartered Accountants Statutory Auditor Dated: 18 May 2011 Acre House 11-15 William Road London NW1 3ER United Kingdom This is an extract from the Accounts – a full report is available on request.



n o i t s e u q a e c n a l a b of

three or more hours’ overtime a day, meanwhile, are at a 60 per cent higher risk of cardiac arrest.

“People who spend more time at work have less time to exercise, relax and unwind,” says Dr John East, Medical Director of the Society of Occupational Medicine. “Studies have also found reduced resistance to infection in people who are stressed at work. They could also have high blood pressure during office hours, which doesn’t show up at the GP surgery and so goes untreated.” Regularly working overtime can also affect your mental health, according to the charity Mind. In a recent survey of people with mental health problems – experiencing everything from depression and anxiety to severe illness – the charity found that 61 per cent believed work stress to be the main cause.

Over five million people in the UK regularly do unpaid overtime. The average person works so hard, says the TUC, that if their overtime hours were grouped together, it would be 25 February before they first got paid each year. But, while it might sound like good news for the economy, overworking can take a major toll on health and wellbeing, something the TUC is highlighting with its annual Work Your Proper Hours campaign. Working long hours and striking a poor worklife balance have been linked to a range of health problems, not to mention a deterioration in personal relationships and a drop in professional performance. Short-term health issues include extreme fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability, headaches and migraines. Even skin complaints and digestive disorders are thought to be aggravated by stress. Heart-stopping statistics The long-term impact of overworking, meanwhile, can be far more serious. A recent study of civil servants published in the European Heart Journal found that people who regularly work 10 to 12-hour days increase their risk of a heart attack by two-thirds. Those who work

Benenden Healthcare Society provides some practical tips for finding the right work-life balance – before overtime starts affecting your health.

Find your work-life balance While it’s laudable to be dedicated to your job, it’s important that it doesn’t dominate your life or impact on time with family and friends. Allowing yourself sufficient down time, away from the workplace, can help you to return re-energised and to perform better and more productively. If you feel you’re becoming stressed or that your physical or mental health is suffering as a result of long hours, discuss it with your line manager. He or she may be able to alleviate some of the pressure on your workload, help you to deal with other problems you are experiencing or provide support while you get back to full fitness and return to work. For further information and practical tips, including the Long Hours Clinic – a handy online tool that gives you tailored advice to fit your situation – visit the worksmart website.

HEALTHIER WORKPLACES Benenden Healthcare Society’s website at carries regularly updated health and wellbeing articles, including a useful section on health in the workplace. By joining the Society, members have access to a wide range of top-class discretionary healthcare services. This includes access to services tailored for mental health: • 24/7 Stress counselling helpline (available immediately) • Local consultations & tests* • Up to £300 for Psychology treatment* • Up to £300 for Counselling treatment* Find out how to join today by visiting *Discretionary services available after six months’ membership of the Society.



BOOK STAND From local to global these books will alarm, inform and inspire THE NEWS WHERE YOU ARE CATHERINE O’FLYNN Set in Birmingham, The News Where You Are tells the funny, touching story of Frank, a local TV news presenter. Frank is haunted by disappearances: the mysterious hit and run that killed his predecessor Phil Smethway; the demolition of his father’s postwar architecture; and, the unmarked passing of those who die alone in the city. Frank struggles to make sense of these absences while having to report endless local news stories. HALF THE SKY NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF & SHERYL WUDUNN This husband and wife team take us on a journey through Africa and Asia to meet an extraordinary array of exceptional women struggling against terrible circumstances. More girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they are girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the 20th century combined. More girls are killed in this routine ‘gendercide’. The central moral challenge of this century, they argue, is the struggle for gender equality in the developing world. TEACH YOUR GRANNY TO TEXT AND OTHER WAYS TO CHANGE THE WORLD This is the children’s sequel to Change the World for a Fiver, by the global social change movement, We Are What We Do. It’s a movement whose aim is to inspire people – in this case children – to use their everyday actions to change the world. Their maxim is: small actions X lots of people = big change. The 30 actions in this book are fun and easy but make a big difference and give them the responsibility for changing the world, one bit at a time. THE ROAD TO WANTING BY WENDY LAW-YONE Taking the reader on a journey from the remote tribal villages of northern Burma, to ex-pat life in Rangoon under a grim military regime, and then, in shocking scenes, to the brothels of Thailand and the hedonism of Bangkok. The Road to Wanting traces the life of a young woman whose fate is always in the hands of others, be they well-meaning Americans or provincial pimps. Full of the glare and shadows of the East, this haunting journey opens up places often hidden to Western eyes, revealing ancient cruelties, as well as the redemptive power in facing – and forgiving – the truth.


WIN CINEMA TICKETS If you have a few minutes spare then why not try your hand at our wordsearch. See if you can find all the words below that are related to films and the cinema, including some new releases for this summer. Filmology have donated four vouchers for adult tickets at Cineworld (valid for all 2D films until 30/9/12). Two lucky winners will receive two tickets each. Completed entries should be sent to Middleton Cheney by 15 July 2011.













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NGSU Rapport 71  

NGSU (Nationwide Group Staff Union) quarterly magazine for union members

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