They know what’s good for you!

Dundee City UNISON today issued a scathing response to proposals from Dundee City Council to make regressive changes to their Hybrid and Flexi-time working arrangements and guidance.

Despite what have been well tested arrangements for extensive homeworking, where practicable, the Council had recently pushed through (without any consultation) an edict forcing all workers to attend the office at least one day a week (whether their work type required it or not) and have now put forward proposals and guidance to raise that to a minimum 2 days per week, as well as taking an oppressive stance on use of flexi-time.

Previous agreed arrangements, of course, assumed that jobs that required in-person attendance in the workplace for effective service delivery, would need a requisite number of days in the office. Although such concerns did not prevent the council deciding to close all its offices to the public last year.
There was also agreement and guidance for in-person supervison of apprentices and new starts undergoing induction etc.

The argument being put now is that it is the employer’s concern over staff isolation and team cohesion that is driving this move. As a trade union we have encountered a small number of members who have wanted to attend the office more regularly than their work type requires. We have never encountered any, however, who have said that they required all their team members to come in too.

The council employers claim that they are doing all this for the wellbeing of their employees and that flexible working requests can be used for members with particular needs for homeworking arrangements. We are finding however that such requests are often being refused, even where the council’s own medical advisors (OH) are saying to support them. So much for wellbeing.

If they cared so much about wellbeing, they would be doing more to tackle the massive rise in violence and aggression being experienced by our members in schools and early years and other public facing services having to deal with frustrated and infuriated citizens, or the chronic understaffing in every service (including the nearly broken Social Care services), that are leading to record high absence due to anxiety, depression and similar conditions.

Their guidance also describes strict rules about flexi-time, working over or ouside your daily office hours and using it to help with childcare. This is an encouragement to controlling managers to prevent workers from taking benefits from flexi and creates a stigmatising and discriminatory image of struggling parents (trying to do their jobs around costly childcare arrangements) as gaming the system.

We believe this is being driven by listening to poor managers who cannot measure performance except by counting bums on seats and some political embarrassment by the council at being held responsible for footfall in town center retail businesses.

You can read our response here:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top