UKBA not fit for purpose after asylum contract cancellation
Following contact by concerned members of staff, Glasgow’s SNP Group met with management and union to discuss the difficulties faced by staff from their proposed transfer from Glasgow City Council to YPeople following the UK Border Agency decision to terminate its contract with Glasgow City Council for receiving, supporting and accommodating asylum seekers in the city.
It was clear from these meetings that there are a number of serious issues outstanding in relation to the transfer, including pension rights, working times and length of contracts.
Commenting on the UKBA decision, Councillor James Dornan - Glasgow SNP Leader of the Opposition - said: “The UKBA’s decision to remove this contract from Glasgow City Council has created a climate of great uncertainty among asylum seekers and Glasgow’s asylum services, which are being severely affected by the decision, one which flies in the face of common sense. Our staff are to be congratulated for continuing to work diligently despite having this nightmare looming large. The UKBA has jeopardised services in Glasgow and treated asylum seekers shabbily – it has demonstrated by its actions that it is not fit for purpose.
Having been contacted by staff affected by these proposed changes – in both Social Work Services and City Building Glasgow - the SNP arranged a series of meetings with staff, unions and departments, to seek solutions to the problems faced by those under threat of transfer.
Following meetings with the Executive Director of Social Work Social Work (Wednesday), and with UNISON and City Building (both Thursday) Councillor Dornan said: “We share a number of the concerns raised by both Trade Union and individual members of staff in relation to changes to their terms and conditions of employment. We also have concerns regarding continuity of employment, considering the short term nature of the contact between Y-People and the UKBA.
“What is clear is that the UKBA decision to terminate the contract with the Council flies in the face of logic - this whole sorry saga could have been avoided had the UKBA not taken the decision to terminate the contract.
“With the Council continuing to appoint agency staff to full time permanent posts, surely an organisation employing more than 20,000 staff is able to redeploy staff who have given many years faithful service and wish to remain employees of the Council? We are concerned that these staff will end up being thrown to the wolves, potentially losing their employment benefits as a result of the UKBA’s cynical decision to cut short Glasgow’s contract.
Bailie David McDonald – SNP Spokesperson on Social Care – said: “Our position is clear: if the information relating to important areas such as terms and conditions and pension liabilities has not been clarified, then no member of staff should be forced to transfer out of the Council. Affected staff should instead be redeployed within the council.
“Both Social Work and City Building have taken our views on board and we hope to see some positive progress on the issues raised soon. For sake of the staff involved we seek a satisfactory resolution to the dispute with YPeople or redeployment within the Council, should this be possible.
1. The UKBA served notice for the cancellation of Glasgow City Council’s asylum contract in November 2010. A Council paper on the decision can be found here.
2. Staff within Social Work Services and City Building Glasgow, who worked within the asylum contract, have been formally notified that they are to be TUPE transferred to YPeople from 3 April 2011. This follows an extension from 2 February 2011.