LAMBETHWATCH: TUPE OR NOT TUPE – THAT IS THE QUESTION: UNISON STAFF TO BOYCOTT CARNEGIE LIBRARY RE-OPENING?

UNISON are advising staff not to work at Carnegie library, Herne Hill when it re-opens on Thursday (15th).

They say that Greenwich Leisure will be staffing Carnegie library “in a clear breach of policy” . and are advising their members not to work there until the issue is resolved

“Lambeth council have stated publicly that Greenwich Leisure will be running Carnegie library when Lambeth staff are not available (all but  two hours per day)” say Unison.

“It is our opinion that this is a breach of the TUPE regulations* covering the transfer of work during outsourcing.

“Unison are not aware of any health and safety assessments having taken place in relation to working at the library and we are advising staff not to work at Carnegie library until we have seen appropriate risk assessment.

“Unison are not aware of any child protection/ vulnerable adult arrangements being put in place and would like to see details of the child protection (and vulnerable adult) responsibilities and named parties. “There also aren’t any toilets there!

“In relation to Greenwich Leisure  staff at Carnegie, Unison requested details of the amount of hours they would be working, how many staff would be working, and who is paying for it.

“Unison requested details of what duties they would be performing.

“The response was that they would be expected to do the following: Concierge, security of the library area, manage incidents between the public, direct people to information, shelving, forwarding of enquiries, complaints and comments.

“Unison stated that we would be seeking legal advice on this basis as it is clearly a breach of TUPE legislation as you cannot make people redundant and give their work to another contractor without the staff being offered a transfer to that contractor under their current terms and conditions.

“Unison are advising staff not to work at Carnegie library until their working conditions can be guaranteed as safe.”

News From Crystal Palace sent a copy of Unison’s comments to Lambeth council’s communications team / press office – and got the following reply in 31 minutes: “The unions are due to have a site visit before opening. “There is a toilet.”

But when we asked Unison about the meeting they said: “There was to be a site visit today but it has been cancelled by management.”

Mews From Crystal Palace had also sent a copy of the Unison statement to Lambeth council’s cabinet member for culture Cllr Sonia Winifred, not expecting a reply. But today (Wednesday) Cllr Winifred emailed the following response:

“It is my understanding that Greenwich Leisure staff will be managing the building, not the library. “They will if asked, direct library users to the library area, nothing more.

“The library will be self service with a telephone helpline connected to another of our libraries where a library staff member can support the user.

“A librarian will be working in the library two hours per day. “These hours will be made public so users wanting to see a librarian can choose to visit during those hours. “These staffing arrangements are in line with staffing in other neighbourhood libraries Upper Norwood joint library service, Minet library and Oasis in Waterloo.

“GLL staff will not be dealing with enquiries it is clear they are not library staff therefore cannot respond to library enquiries.

“With regards to child protection, health and safety issue I suggest you speak with Head of Libraries Susanna Barnes who is leading on this.”

*TUPE refers to the “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006” as amended by the “Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014”. The TUPE rules apply to organisations of all sizes and protect employees’ rights when the organisation or service they work for transfers to a new employer.

TUPE has impacts for the employer who is making the transfer (also known as theoutgoing employer or the transferor) and the employer who is taking on the transfer (also known as the incoming employer, the ‘new employer’ or the transferee). – Source: Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service website.

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