Union wants to engage over scope

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NEWLY-appointed general secretary of the Prospect union, Mike Clancy, listened to public sector concerns over the Scope of Government report and redundancy negotiations during a visit to the island on Tuesday.

Mr Clancy, who took up the position on January 1 after being deputy general secretary since 2005, met public sector members in the Manx Electricity Authority and Government Officers’ Association.

He said there were some major concerns for the public sector as a result of the Scope of Government review – and that this was causing ‘considerable anxiety’.

At this month’s sitting,Tynwald approved the principle of a smaller, simple and less bureaucratic government. Government departments, statutory boards and offices have until December 31 to review all service delivery functions.

Mr Clancy said that as the Manx government considers contracting out some services, it should take into account mistakes made by the UK government.

He said in some cases, benefits in terms of cost reduction had not been delivered, and that service delivery was now being insourced.

When asked what stance the union would be taking with negotiations, he said: ‘We are up for a constructive discussion about difficult issues but we won’t be pushed around.’

He said the union wanted to work with government to deal with the challenges the government faces but that it had to be a ‘two-way street’ with government working to address members concerns.

‘People will remember how they are treated at this time when the economic conditions give employers a bit more leverage. Government is no different in that respect. How well they take into account staff issues will be remembered.’

Mr Clancy said members were also anxious about proposed changes to public sector redundancy.

The government is reviewing rates of redundancy pay civil servants can receive. At present, a civil servant could be eligible for a lump sum severance payment of up to three years’ pay. The employees’ side has proposed cash compensation in cases of compulsory redundancy to be based on length of service up to a maximum of 12 months’ pay. In cases such as voluntary redundancy, the maximum would be 21 months’ pay.

Prospect has about 1,800 members in the island.

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