Please see below letter issued today to Frazer Simpson, in response to his recent correspondence regarding the VERA policy. I hope this clarifies the reasons for our position on this policy.
CULTURE NL – VOLUNTARY EARLY RELEASE POLICY (VERA)
UNISON note your correspondence to members regarding the newly introduced VERA policy. We would like to clarify that regardless of what other UNISON branches may do, UNISON North Lanarkshire did not feel that we could endorse this policy. However, we made no moves to hinder it’s introduction, being aware that CNL are entitled to advance policies of this type without a Collective Agreement as they are not considered contractual.
Our sister unions, GMB and UNITE did approve the policy, but their decision making is a matter for them and has no bearing on any positions taken by UNISON North Lanarkshire.
We understand that the policy will be used on a voluntary basis, and welcome your clarification that there are no plans to change the existing redundancy arrangements. However, given the level of cuts for the coming few years, and a fairly bleak picture for public services in the longer term, UNISON North Lanarkshire feel that offering reduced terms of redundancy, even on a voluntary basis, is a slippery slope. It is our responsibility to fight to maintain Terms and Conditions for our members in the face of cuts, service redesigns, and restructures, and we would have been remiss in our duties if we had endorsed this policy.