Earlier this year the government announced that the seven existing district and borough councils, and the current county council, will be replaced by one new council for North Yorkshire from 1 April 2023.
As the biggest trade union by far to represent council workers across North Yorkshire, UNISON has been involved in negotiations about the formal process that will see staff at the district and borough councils transfer to the new North Yorkshire Council.
Staff who currently work for the existing county council are not classed as ‘transferring’ to the new council, as the new council will be a ‘continuing authority’ based on the existing county council.
Staff who work for Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby councils will have their employment formally transfer to North Yorkshire Council on 1 April 2023 under a ‘TUPE transfer’ arrangement.
TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) is a piece of legislation that came from European Union law, which protects workers’ terms and conditions when their employment moves to a new employer.
The five UNISON branches, which between them represent over 6,500 local government workers across North Yorkshire, have issued a joint response to the proposed transfer. They have raised a number of concerns and raised objections to a range of measures that are being proposed by the new council.
In a letter to Richard Flinton, the Chief Executive of the new North Yorkshire Council, UNISON raised concerns about:
- proposals to make changes to the senior management structure in advance of 1 April 2023, which UNISON feels could disadvantage staff who currently work for the district and borough councils and is helping fuel demands for enhanced payouts for senior staff at the district and borough councils;
- the removal of small allowances (around £8 per month) for staff who volunteer to be Mental Health First-Aiders, supporting their colleagues who may be experiencing mental health difficulties;
- changes to pay dates, which seem unnecessary and will cause difficulty for some workers especially those who are currently paid weekly;
- lack of clarity about some services that are out-sourced by the current county council, and what will happen to these workers;
- a range of other issues that the trade union has sought clarity about.
The formal response from UNISON has been shared with UNISON members working at all the councils.