Capita executive chairman Rod Aldridge and Unison general secretary Dave Prentis signed a new agreement yesterday to strengthen their relationship and build on the initial recognition agreement signed in October 1997.
A new consultation and communication structure at a local and a national level will see the establishment of local forums located in Capita local government services sites as well as a joint national board. The joint national board will meet on a quarterly basis with senior Capita executives and Unison lay representatives to consider strategic, Capita-wide issues. The inaugural meeting of the joint national board will take place in the next few weeks.
There will also be a joint development training programme to help Unison representatives and Capita managers to work together more effectively on industrial relations and business issues. Capita will encourage and support union representatives and Capita managers to take part in joint training events.
Union lay representatives have been involved in discussions at all levels across a variety of Capita businesses about how Unison and Capita can improve the way they work together and move the relationship forward to the mutual benefit of the staff.
In addition to ensuring lay representatives have time off to carry out their union duties, Capita will provide them with access to local government sites to assist with recruitment and support to members.
A longer term goal is a commitment from Unison to establish a Unison branch structure at Capita sites as and when membership levels make it practical.
Already the two organisations have agreed a new collective disputes procedure and have agreed to jointly review the implications and benefits of long term local government strategic partnerships with the private sector, the development of shared service provision and new models of service delivery.
Mr Aldridge said:
'At both Capita and Unison we agree that staff are our greatest asset and Capita is committed to being an exemplary employer that protects and promotes all its employees. This agreement represents a new stage in the long term partnership between Unison and Capita. It's an important step in a longer journey to ensure a continuous improvement in performance standards.
'I am delighted that Unison will continue to be part of Capita's future; contributing to our service delivery, supporting change, and ensuring that its members benefit from the improvements to come.
'Local government and the wider public sector remain important markets for Capita. It is very appropriate that a company at the forefront of outsourcing in the public sector should be strengthening its partnership with the country's largest and most progressive public service trade union. Together we can contribute so much to the delivery of effective and efficient public services.'
Mr Prentis said:
'I am delighted with the progress we have made in talks with Capita and especially the commitment from the top of Capita to working with a progressive, modern trade union. Capita is recognised as a leading public service delivery company and we will build and develop our already excellent relationship with the company. We have a significant membership in Capita and these new arrangements will enable Unison and Capita representatives to work together for the benefit of Capita staff, service users and Capita's public sector clients. I look forward to developing the positive relationship between Unison and Capita at the highest levels.'