20% pension deal struck at Glebe

The branch supported a group of members at Glebe Primary School in Southwick in the summer term. Most of the members affected were teaching assistants who had additional jobs in the after-school club.

The school management decided to outsource the after-school club as they were struggling to provide the service the parents wanted. UNISON advised against this but school management insisted it should proceed.

Because the after-school club was being handed over as a ‘going concern’ to the company that won the tender (‘Class Of Their Own’, COTO), there was no ongoing service contract between the school and COTO. This led to a unique legal situation where COTO was unable to offer the staff continued access to their local government pensions, as would be normal in a standard TUPE  process.

UNISON officers and our local rep Gary Stepney negotiated with COTO and in the end it was agreed that COTO would make a 20% employer contribution rate to government-backed NEST  pensions for the transferred staff. COTO provide the statutory minimum contribution of just 2% for their other staff.

Members were content with this outcome and the TUPE transfer proceeded on 1st September.

A further issue with this TUPE process was the absence of HR support to the school. UNISON ended up as the de facto legal advisers to the school, and the school thanked UNISON officers for their support to navigate the process. This is not a situation UNISON welcomes and we have raised the shortcomings of the Capita contract with the council’s director of education & skills.  However, it was essential that we protected members’ interests at this time of change.