Update on local pay offer

Attempts are being made to introduce performance-related pay for managers at WSCC. This could have implications for all staff, including those on NJC pay.

UNISON members at WSCC in HAY, SMG4, and Public Health/Agenda for Change (AfC) pay groups have locally determined pay awards. These staff are usually managers and have salaries which are higher than those the NJC pay scale allows for. This news article follows our previous article on the matter, and updates members on a number of matters relating to the local pay offer and in particular addresses the letters which have been re-issued to members and the supporting FAQs document.

It also outlines a series of member meetings for you to attend with UNISON.

Advice to members in HAY, SMG4 and AfC pay groups

Notwithstanding the changes to the employer’s approach and extended consultation period (described in detail below), UNISON advice remains to positively reject the offer. When rejecting, we continue to suggest you write back to the employer something along these lines: “I am rejecting these proposals because they are unclear in key respects. I wish to return to the usual process of pay consultation and awards and for WSCC to implement the 2% pay award agreed with UNISON in May.”

Interim UNISON consultation response submitted

UNISON submitted on 10th August an interim consultation response to the employer, so the executive leadership is fully aware of staff anger and upset. This can be downloaded here and also below. We will also submit a final consultation response on Friday 14th September. The branch did not want to wait until 14th September to register your concerns. As yet we have had no response to the many points raised within it.

UNISON view on re-issued letters and FAQs

We have seen a major extension to the consultation period, and a complete change of approach (though not to the proposals themselves). The employer was asking staff to vary their contracts by returning a letter. This was confusing and probably unlawful. Anyone who has already rejected the proposals need not be concerned that they did so using the form previously provided, which the employer has now abandoned. I have clarified that the employer will take into account previous responses using the defunct form.

The council has rushed at this, and in so doing put its hard-working managers under great pressure, only then to change its approach and greatly increase the consultation period anyway. This reflects the flawed thinking at the heart of the proposals, and can give no-one greater confidence that a system of full performance-related pay will be fair or equitable. There has still been not a shred of evidence provided to justify the proposals.

Re-issued letters: changes of approach / areas of concern:

  • WSCC state that the ‘offer’ is now not impacted by individual consent (via the form to agree or reject a variation of contract), but will be implemented if more than 50% agree to it for everyone, regardless of individual view.
  • People who do not respond, for whatever reason, will be assumed by the employer to agree to the change.
  • WSCC plan to define ‘good’ and ‘exceptional’ performance with a group of staff volunteers – not involving UNISON.
  • WSCC assert their view that they are not changing contracts of employment. We believe they are.
  • WSCC asserts that increments have always been conditional on a performance assessment – this is not true. Increments have been automatically applied unless a member of staff was under an active disciplinary or capability proceeding.
  • WSCC assert their view that trade unions are not recognised to deal with pay – we reject this.
  • WSCC state that if the offer is rejected they cannot foresee any other offer being made. UNISON rejects this position which appears to continue the blackmail theme identified by members in the interim consultation response. The council did budget 2% for pay awards, and also offered 2% for the local pay award in writing to UNISON in May.

FAQs: changes of approach / areas of concern

  • WSCC imply the lack of a formal written recognition agreement across the board with UNISON justifies their approach. This is not correct as the lack of a formal, written recognition agreement does not inhibit deep and formal approaches to full union involvement in negotiations and collective bargaining, and these have been used successfully over many decades at WSCC. What has changed is the employer’s approach to trade unions.
  • We disagree that UNISON is not recognised on pay.
  • WSCC state that the way performance will be assessed for HAY staff (agreed with a group of staff volunteers from the HAY group) will then be the same as for the NJC group. This is before any negotiation with us on the matter. WSCC attempted to change NJC incremental progression for April 2018 and backtracked on this when their approach appeared to be unlawful then. We expect to have meaningful discussions on this in Autumn 2018, as has been promised.
  • There is a lack of absolute clarity on which of the 4 of 16 boxes will warrant a pay rise and incremental progression. For now we assume it is the 4 boxes in the top-right quadrant, and not those along the top line or right-hand line.
  • There is a lack of clarity in some of the FAQs, which imply certain things are going to happen without making the caveat that they will not happen if 50% do not agree to the changes.
  • WSCC state that the only change to T&Cs is the change to pay year, starting from April. We disagree.
  • The FAQs document is notable also for what it does not say: many of the points members have made to us and the employer about how such a PRP scheme would operate and its potential problems are not addressed.

Public Health / Agenda for Change letter

  • This offers 2% in Year 1 and 2% in Year 2, with the latter year to be performance-assessed, for AfC members who are paid at rates equivalent to NJC grades.
  • Members paid at rates equivalent to HAY rates are offered 1% in Year 1 and 3% in Year 2, with the latter year to be performance-assessed.
  • This letter states that the BMA has been notified by the employer, but WSCC does not recognise the BMA and BMA is not listed in any of WSCC’s formal documentation on which unions it recognises. UNISON has members in this group; and has been involved in pay negotiations for this group previously.
  • UNISON has not been formally notified by the employer on this group. We received the letter from our UNISON rep in the AfC group.
  • The advice to our members in this group remains as above: to reject the offer.

Member meetings

UNISON has arranged a number of meetings for HAY/SMG4/AfC members. Please come along to share your views with us, and to hear directly from us about the offer and our next steps as a trade union to return to normalised collective bargaining.


Hub Date & Time Room
Crawley Library Wed 05/09/18
Bill Buck Room
Durban House, Bognor Thurs 06/09/18
Conference Room 1
Centenary House, Worthing Fri 07/09/18
Conference Room 1
County Hall North, Horsham Wed 12/09/18
Goodwood Room
County Hall, Chichester Fri 14/09/18
Committee Room 2


We are awaiting a full legal assessment from UNISON’s solicitors Thompsons, and this must now take place using the changed documentation issued. Members should note that UNISON retains other strategies than legal ones. We intend to go to the local press this week.

Membership growth

We have seen a rapid growth in UNISON membership in these staff groups such is the anger of staff at the proposals and determination not to have them imposed. This growth is very helpful to UNISON in being able to defend members’ interests. Please continue to encourage your non-member colleagues to join. UNISON membership forms are available here.

Consultation extension

The period of consultation has now been extended until Friday 14 September. If you haven’t already responded to UNISON (office.unison@westsussex.gov.uk), the date to respond to us has also been extended until 12noon on Thursday 13th September.

The interim response is published here:

Download (DOCX, 55KB)