Our Ref: LA/ 29 /13
29th July 2013
To: Branches, Regional Councils & Regional Offices
Yet another kick in the teeth for Trade Unions comes again from Europe, in a in a case which it had been hoped would change TUPE law in favour of employees. Alemo-Herron vs. Parkwood Leisure was a landmark case with serious implications, particularly for workers being transferred from the public sector to private sector companies.
The case was brought almost three years ago after Parkwood Leisure refused to pay its workers an increase in line with a collective agreement the employees understood to have been transferred as part of their protections under TUPE Regulations.
However, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on18 July 2013) ruled that industry or sector-wide collective agreements that are incorporated into the contracts of employees should not be protected during a transfer.
The contracts of Parkwood Leisure employees stated that their wages should rise "from time to time" according to collective bargaining agreements, but the Court ruled that such "dynamic" agreements do not need to be adhered to after a transfer has taken place.
However, the collectively-agreed pay rate of workers at the time of their transfer continues to be protected under TUPE regulations.
The decision is a very disappointing one for the trade unionmovement, the ECJ has shifted the traditional interpretation of TUPE as a set of legislation to protect workers, to concentrate on therights of bosses instead.
Circular No MF/72/13
TO: ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS
Our Ref: FIN/051
18th July 2013
FINANCES OF THE UNION – PAY-BASED CONTRIBUTION RATE CONSULTATION
In accordance with Council Executives’ Decision No. CEww, June 2013, an item regarding the Finances of the Union was placed before the 2013 Annual General Meeting.
Arising from the adoption of Item No 73 at the 2013 Annual General Meeting, it is necessary to open up a consultation process amongst all Branches and Regional Councils regarding a progressive contributory subscription rate which can be based on member’s pay.
The position that a member on low pay has to pay the Full Rate and then claim a rebate is to be ended, which will be put into place on a temporary basis, until the full consultation on subscriptions amongst the membership has been carried out. Any member who is on a basic rate of pay of less than £20,000.00 (inclusive of London Weighting, where applicable) will pay £1.25 per week from January 1st 2014. There will be an increase on the levy of every member who earns above £20,000.00 per year, at the amount of 6 pence per week,which will then be transferred into the new Legal Fund.
I should therefore be grateful if you would give this matter your consideration and submit your initial views and suggestions to me by 1st December 2013.
Circular No NP/182/13
To All Branches, Regional Offices & Regional Councils
Our Ref: LA/28/13
17th July 2013
Fees in Employment Tribunals
I have previously advised on the Union’s opposition to the imposition of fees in employment tribunals (see Circular NP/244/12). Unfortunately the fees are now a reality.
Fees will be payable in all employment tribunal claims fromMonday 29th July 2013. The Union advises therefore that all current claims which have not been issued should be issuedbefore this date so as to avoid the requirement to pay the fee. Thereafter all Tribunal applications must be accompanied by a fee depending upon the level and whether the application is for a single member or in a group.
Type A Claims - the issue fee is £160 (wages claims; payment in lieu; redundancy payments and refusal for time off for ante natal claims);
Type B Claims - the issue fee is £250 (unfair dismissal claims; discrimination claims; equal pay; whistle blowing claims).
There are separate fees for multiple claims which are complicated. Guidance and training will be provided by our Legal Department to all Officers and Union Reps in due course.
If members apply online the system will tell them the correct level of fee.
If a member is claiming for more than one type of claim, then only one fee is payable but it is for the higher level; so for example, a claim for unfair dismissal and wages in lieu, the fee would be £250.
The fee must be paid when either the member or the Union submits the claim online or when posted. Payment for claims online will be made by a credit or debit card and by post with acheque or postal order. No cash payments can be made.
The fee or application for remission (see below) should be sentat the same time as the claim form. Failure to do so will result in the claim being rejected. The form and the fee must be sent within the time limit (usually 3 months less one day) for claims. The claim will not be accepted by the Tribunal if the fee is sent outside the time limit. This will lead to the claim not beingprocessed and probably struck out.
A system of fee waivers and reductions known as “remission system” is available for those who cannot afford to pay a fee.
Although this Union will pay all fees where our legal team has said that there is a reasonable case, we are asking all members to automatically apply for a remission so as to reduce the amount we have to pay. It will also create work for a system that we believe will be unable to cope with the applications. Therefore we are asking every member to complete application formT438A which is the claim form for a remission.
There are 3 types of remissions or rebates that are available.
Remission 1: no fee payable if member receives means tested benefits (e.g. job seekers allowance; income support; working tax credit; pension credit; Scottish Civil Legal Aid)
Remission 2: no fee is payable if members gross annual incomebefore tax and other deductions or that of their partner is below the following thresholds:
No children: Single £13,000. Couple £18,000
1 child : Single £15,930. Couple £20,930
2 children : Single £18,860. Couple £23,860
3 children : Single £21,790. Couple £26,790
4 children : Single £24,720. Couple £29,720
Remission 3: the fee payable will be reduced in full or part based on the money member receives and the money they are allowed to claim as spent money each month (i.e. theirdisposable monthly income). So for example, if the member’s disposable monthly income is £50 to £59 per month their contribution will be £12.50; if £100 to £109 it would be £25.00 contribution.
The member will need to send separately documents of their expenditure and outgoings. The applications will not be considered without the documents. The Tribunal service hasindicated that they will process the applications within 5 working days. Emergency applications will be done sooner.
Once the application for a remission has been processed or the fee paid the tribunal will process the papers for the case. The case will not be processed until the fee is received or the remission granted.
If financial circumstances change during the case then this can affect future remissions. Therefore if income goes down then it may be worthwhile applying again for a remission at a later stage.
Our Union Legal Team and our Officers are here to help you through this process. The important thing to consider is that our members should not delay in seeking legal assistance from us; the earlier they seek assistance the better are we are to assist them through the process. Remember if we get the Application forms in for Legal assistance and papers in good time and our Solicitor have advised that we have a reasonable case the Union will pay the fee for the member.
New L1 and L2 Forms will shortly be distributed.
We shall also provide training shortly to all Officers and Branch Secretary and Reps in the procedures involved.
Our Ref: HSR/1/19
Head Office Circular: NP/180/13
16th July 2013
ALL REGIONAL COUNCILS
NETWORK RAIL OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PROVISION – WESSEX ROUTE
Further to Head Office Circular NP/121/13 the General Grades Committee have noted and adopted the following report:
“We note the offer on consultation from the company on this matter and previous legal advice on a similar case. We instruct the General Secretary to inform the company that we will take up meaningful consultation on this matter. Our representatives to seek re-assurance on the level of service, data protection and transfer of information and what arrangements are in place to ensure that, if the Alliance was to end, the information that SWT and its employees have to hand would not present a detriment to our members in the future.
Branches and Regional Councils to be informed”.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions and willkeep you informed of developments with this case.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.