UNISON welcomes the granting of Monday 24 December as an extra day’s leave by West Sussex County Council. Only staff involved in essential operations will be required to work, and they will be able to take an extra day’s leave too at a later point. Staff not rota’d to work on Christmas Eve will also get an extra day’s leave at a later point (or proportion thereof, if part-time).
UNISON believes this is a sensible and pragmatic decision by the Chief Executive given the known state of staff morale after the staff survey.
UNISON also wishes to make our members aware that it was UNISON West Sussex that requested this formally of the Chief Executive.
This was not made clear in the council’s communication to staff, which is a shame as the council should be more proud of its partnership working with its main trade union.
UNISON West Sussex rep Gerard Robson, from the Worthing community adult social work team, raised the issue with the Branch Secretary who took the request to a regular UNISON meeting with the Chief Executive a couple of months ago. At the latest UNISON/Chief Executive meeting in November, the decision in response to the request was confirmed. Again, we wish to reiterate that we welcome the council’s decision, as staff fully deserve this extra day’s rest and recuperation. But the episode also illustrates how our branch works, and what we can achieve for members. If you have an idea for how you can improve work at WSCC, why not become a rep yourself, like Gerard, and use the established mechanisms we have in place to further it.
Many thanks go to Gerard!
UNISON reps also brought pressure to bear successfully on Capita. Capita initially intended to allow its staff scheduled to work on Christmas Eve to have an extra day off, but was not intending to universally apply it. So for example, part-time staff not due to work on Monday would not benefit. Capita rep Ian Harvey got in touch with Capita and they quickly agreed to change their position to allow part-time staff not scheduled to work on Monday to enjoy the same time off as WSCC was permitting to its staff.