NCOA Seeks 5% Uplift to all Pay & LWA
Whilst each and every one of us is currently individually affected in our domestic and working life by matters beyond our control or comprehension, what now appear to be quite mundane matters, continue to churn away regardless of the chaos around us.
A fortnight ago you may have been awaiting with keen eagerness on news of the delayed 2020/21 pay submission by both the NCOA and the NCA itself. However, given the events of the last week I genuinely recognise the relative insignificance in reporting to you that the long wait is now over and that all parties are able to publish their pay submission today.
Our submission this year reflects on the Agency’s pay proposals as well as our own, based on our unique positioning within the NCA and the knowledge and understanding we have built up as a Trade Union whose principal purpose is to represent all grades of staff within the National Crime Agency.
We know first-hand the problems faced within the workplace and the acute retention issues which are widespread. Issues which we believe are related directly to pay - as opposed to job satisfaction or Dickensian working conditions. Whilst our members seem to display an unending passion and loyalty for the Agency and the work they do - for many, the rewards are simply not enough.
You will understand the pros and cons of Spot Rates, and possibly the rewards too but, at the moment barely a quarter of the Agency have signed up to them and the attrition rate continues to rise. Therefore, to focus on elements of the workforce does not appear to have fixed the big picture problems which are now very real.
Whilst the NCOA does understand the restrictions placed on the Agency due to its unique status, we would nevertheless be buoyed by central messaging which agreed pay was too low and that additional funding should be made available for it. This would mirror the very public pleas for additional funding to fight Serious Organised Crime - which cannot be delivered within existing budgets.
Whilst we do not hold the purse strings, we, like the Agency, see it as sitting and operating at the pinnacle of law enforcement within the UK. Given this agreed positioning we fail to see how it can be an employer of choice nor retain staff long term without at the very least, parity with Policing partners - for now. In due course we would, like many of you, rightly expect to see NCA pay move ahead of Policing counterparts in recognition of your lead status.
For that very reason we seek an award this year of 5% for all staff with increases to London Weighting at the same level. Given the current positioning generally below Policing peers, anything less than 5% would merely widen the pay gap and create some easy choices for talent ‘considering their options’. We have also resisted and will continue to resist restrictions on upward movement at the top of each pay grade, particularly when the financial impact on the pay bill is now so small.
Pay is an emotive issue and the removal of overtime for any officer will cause pulses to race. Whilst we understand the Agency’s positioning on Grade 3 officers, we have yet to see any mechanisms or procedures in place to protect our members should transfer to Spot Rates take place. The complete absence of any checks and balances to limit or manage working hours will see our members vulnerable to overworking through undefined and previously rejected ‘enhanced flexibility’ with little recourse. Given the fundamental changes to existing contracts on this issue, we are critical of the Agency’s lack of consultation and more importantly lack of early notification to the workforce of its key proposals.
We are also critical of the Agency’s intentions to exclude G6’s from expansion of the Spot Rate structure which they propose will include G1, G2, G3 in addition to the original G4 and G5 group. Given the diminishing numbers at this important grade, whilst we are confident they could be integrated into a skills and competency based pay structure, the Agency has decided not to explore this option to open up career development in skills, pay and aspirations at this critical grade.
Another main thread of our submission is an uplift for a small but important group of shift workers who are required to work nights as part of their roster. Given the widening gap with their counterparts elsewhere we acknowledge the findings of an independent review commissioned by the Agency and seek significant upward movement in shift pay in order to bridge the gap and secure long-term commitment from these officers to the benefit of all parties.
The NCOA pay case is scheduled to be discussed in greater detail at an oral presentation with the NCARRB next month. Before then you will all be facing challenges which none of us have experienced nor even imagined before now. Please keep safe and do not take unnecessary risks with your health or the health of others. Rest assured with this regard that we will be standing alongside the Agency in working to protect those who protect the public.
To read the pay NCOA pay submission in full please click link
Simon Boon - General Secretary