An Open letter to members of the House of Lords

22 04 2013

Dear Member of the House of Lords,

Prospect is a trade union that represents staff in the health and safety field, and we have been taking careful note of the deliberations in both Houses on Civil Liability in the event of a health and safety offence in the workplace.

We very much welcome the decision in the House of Lords to oppose the element that was placed in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (without consultation) to remove a core protection for workers which has been in place for 114 years.

Despite the vote to oppose the Clause 61 (now Clause 62) it was overturned in the Commons and will be deliberated upon again on Monday 22nd April in the Upper House. Prospect and many other stakeholders with an interest in health and safety fear that these changes will result in injured workers losing the right for compensation in the event of a breach of health and safety statutory duty by a negligent employer. It will tip the balance towards the negligent employer by requiring greater proof of negligence. As a consequence this will also shift costs to the state, with the NHS picking up the tab for the rehabilitation of injured workers.

The Government claims its proposals pursue recommendations made by their independent advisor, risk management academic Professor Löfstedt. However this week Professor Löfstedt  has publicly and more strongly restated his concerns that the Government has gone too far.

With this in mind we would urge you to attend the Chamber on Monday and vote to protect these important measures that have been in place for 114 years and are set to be removed by an ill-thought through clause.

Vial the prospect Website

1st March Work Your Proper Hours Day – £29.2 billion of free work

1 03 2013

Over 5 Million workers do unpaid over time the TUC estimates that this is worth almost 30 Billion £ to UK employers.

This year, Work Your Proper Hours Day is 1 March. this is the date at which the average worker who did all their unpaid hours at the start of the year would start getting paid. The aim of the day is to remind everyone – employees and employers – about the value of unpaid work and that flexibility should be a two way process. This chimes with Prospect’s Work Time Your Time campaign which gives people tools to take stock and help regain a sense of control.

We know our members put in the extra hours when the job demands it – across the economy the TUC estimates that this amounts to 2 billion extra days a year. We also know that many of our members are under pressure to work longer hours with cuts in resource and an ever faster pace of change and work. That impacts on your work life balance and well-being. Getting a balance that works for you is not just good for your health but evidence continues to show that if people are well and happy their performance improves.

Here are some simple ideas about things you might want to do to mark Work Your Proper Hours Day

  • Make sure you take a proper lunch break – away from your desk.
  • Try to leave work on time – evidence shows that people are more likely to finish on time when they have something to go to, so why not fix up to go out with family or friends after work – you could even think about doing something with colleagues.
  • Take some time to check out our Work Time Your Time campaign pages. There’s a quick calculator to work out your hourly rate, an hours tracker spreadsheet, and lots of tips and simple ideas to get you thinking about changes you could make to get a work life balance that works for you.

Prospect Political Fund – Why we need it!

23 01 2013

Prospect’s 2012 National Conference took the unanimous decision that to safeguard our campaigning and lobbying activity in defence of members’ interests, the union must retain a political fund.

Without a political fund we run the risk of legal challenge to actions that would be in support of legitimate negotiating objectives but which the courts might deem to be ‘political’. We have received clear advice that the absence of a political fund could leave the union dangerously exposed at a time when we particularly need to campaign effectively in the parliamentary and political arena. National Conference also endorsed the status of the fund and the party political neutrality of Prospect.

By law, a new ballot to maintain a political fund is required every ten years. Both Prospect and Connect held ballots in 2003. To renew the political fund in 2013 we need to hold a ballot of members by 31 March 2013. The ballot will take place between 4-27 March.

Current ‘political’ activity by Prospect

  • Prospect’s campaigning activity on behalf of members covers a range of topics and has an impact on all their interests, regardless of sector, industry, working or retired member status. These activities include:
  • Opposing harmful privatisation and contracting out
  • Opposing harmful national government policies, for example the RPI-CPI switch for indexation of pensions; the rundown of health and safety protection; the tripling of university fees
  • Opposing policies that lead to threats to members’ jobs in the public or private sectors, for example public spending cuts; cancellation of investment programmes and contracts; termination of grant aid
  • Lobbying individual MPs in their constituencies over the local impact of national policies, for example opposition to job losses or site closures, especially during a general election campaign.

These are all activities that Prospect either has been or is continuing to pursue. They are also clearly political – though not, it should be stressed, party political.

The term ‘political fund’ is itself a misnomer, forced on unions by the 1984 Trade Union Act. Its introduction was clearly aimed at getting union members to reject proposals to set up political funds.

In fact no union has voted to reject a political fund – a tribute to the effective way unions explained the issues to members and won majority support in ballots. If it was called a ‘campaign fund’ nobody would even question its purpose – to support industrial and negotiating objectives. But the 1984 Act continues to make a separate political fund necessary.

Information for members

The National Executive Committee is committed to campaigning on this issue and is keen to be given the opportunity to speak to as many members as possible prior to the ballot.

an area of the website devoted to this campaign has been set up which has more information on the political fund

New year greetings from the committe

22 01 2013

Slightly late but here is the connect south Committee from the last meeting of 2012JohnBurford-Xmas2012

Marching for A Future That Works October 20th

17 10 2012

Colleagues on 20 October in London, Glasgow and Belfast there are TUC marches and rallies for A Future That Works. These events are an important step in lobbying for a change to the  governments  austerity program as the FT says “reality is not obliging Mr Osborne” now is the time for change.

Before Its Two lateThe government’s austerity programme is hurting but not working. After two and a half years, the economy is shrinking and the deficit is growing. All Prospect members are affected by the consequences of this misguided policy, which include:

  • Civil servants and other public sector workers continue to face massive job cuts, pay freezes, reduced pensions and higher pensions contributions
  • Vital public services – from the NHS to policing to social care – are under threat
  • Private companies which depend on public procurement and a healthy economy are cutting jobs
  • Essential investment in infrastructure such as telecoms and energy supply is being delayed
  • Hard-won employment rights are being taken away, with new curbs coming on compensation for unfair dismissal and the right to go to an employment tribunal
  • Youth unemployment is over 1 million
  • Confidence in the economy is falling, with potentially disastrous consequences for investment and growth.
  • It’s time to demand a change of policy. It’s time for the government to abandon failed policies and invest for growth. It’s time to march for a future that works.

Follow  @futurethatworks for more information on the day. The hashtag #Oct20 is being used for this event.

You Can Pledge to joins us here

Open Letter to George Osbourn re Pensions Uprating and CPI

20 11 2011

Dear Chancellor

I am writing regarding the continuing speculation about changes to the uprating of pensions and state benefits.

I am concerned about the possibility that the Treasury may increase benefits and pensions by less than the full 5.2% annual increase in CPI inflation; a move which would have a significant impact on my income and my ability to meet the rising costs of living.

I urge you to consider that trying to balance the books by punishing further some of the poorest in our society through a lower than inflation rise in pensions and benefits would be both unfair, unacceptable and downright immoral, considering that you and your Government have already changed the method of calculation for the up-rating of pensions and benefits from RPI to CPI which disadvantaged those of the population that are in receipt of pensions and/or benefits.

It now clearly appears that, you are not content with making one cut into the income of the people I have mentioned but, are intent on delivering a double-whammy by moving the goalposts once again.

One question – why don’t you apply the same criteria to the banks, bank managers and the bonuses of the financiers in the City of London – that I have already contributed towards bailing out of the quagmire they landed this country in ?

RPI v CPI Indexation of Pensions

11 05 2011

Prospect is (with others)  initiating a judicial review of the government’s announcement that from now on the Consumer Prices index (CPI) would be used as the measure for up-rating many pensions, replacing the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

Prospect has produced a short YouTube video about this, which is embedded here.

Newsletter #1/2011

26 02 2011
Newsletter Number 1 for 2011 from Connect South is availible .Issue 1-2011 – Feb Next meeting Thursday the 3rd of March starting at 14:00 at the GFTU Headland House, 308-312 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP Nearest Train/tube St.Pancras.

Prospect Conference 2010

1 06 2010

Just off to prospect conference more reports later

Connect Merger with Prospect Approved

3 11 2009

Connect members have voted decisively to merge with Prospect, with over 88% of those voting supporting the proposal. This move will create the UK’s largest managerial and professional union, representing professional members in the private and public sectors and across a diverse range of occupations.

Adrian Askew, Connect’s General Secretary, said:

“I am delighted that our members have strongly backed plans to merge with Prospect. This promises an exciting future, and we look forward to working closely with colleagues in Prospect, sharing our expertise and our innovative approaches to trade unionism to represent and protect our members”.

Connect members will be part of a dedicated sector for communications workers within Prospect, benefiting from a shared focus on delivering for professional members and a commitment to a positive agenda. Adrian Askew added that:

“This merger will help us to realise our vision of creating a union to protect and represent our professional members throughout their careers, with their union membership as a vital part of their career plans. We share Prospect’s commitment to a focus on the issues that really matter at work, working proactively with our members and their industry to shape the future of the world of work”.

Paul Noon, General Secretary of Prospect, said: “This is a great result and confirms Prospect as the UK’s fastest growing union.

“Our strong focus on Prospect as a professional union for professional people has been shown to have wide appeal. This year alone we have seen nearly 25,000 new members join us, ranging from telecommunications specialists in Connect to aircraft safety engineers in the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers and public sector workers in the Jersey Civil Service Association.”