Personal Alarm system

We were recently asked if the Orbis Red Alert system will be used as a 'tracking system' by NHBC.

We gave the advice that the company can only track you with your consent according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

This is NOT the intention of the system. It is for your personal safety and NHBC have a duty to you to manage your health and safety risks while you are out on site. We would like to assure members that NHBC are not carrying out any monitoring of your location through any tracking data.

We would also remind members that the NHBC Lone Working procedures state that when you're carrying out lone working you must comply with certain conditions. Check these out here.

We understand that there has been an increase in threatening behaviour across the inspection areas,  and if you come under threat then the alarm will pinpoint where you are when it is activated so that help can be given.

Pay 2024-25 - an FAQ

In balloting on pay offers we have asked in the past for your comments if you are rejecting the offer made. We have been looking at the comments this year and have pulled together some themes around the negotiations and offer that we hope will help clarify our position.

Previous year’s deals
• Any annual pay deal is unlikely address previous year’s deals which may have been below inflation. It is a snapshot in time of both the economic position in general, and affordabiltiy for the company to ensure the business is sustainable.
• Historically, we have achieved above inflation deals, which gradually address this.

Pay comparison

Inflation
• We use CPI as the rate of inflation in our talks. Some public sector unions have RPI stated in historical agreements, but very few.
• We use forecasts from many sources for the year ahead and not the ‘live’ figures for the November/December period of talks.
• CPI is currently 3.4% (CPIH is 3.8%), so while the pay settlement may have been below inflation at December’s 4% rate (and compared through the year), it is now above inflation.
• Forecasts for 2024 by most economists show inflation will be somewhere between 1-3% by December 2024.

Discretionary Pot
• Members have been keen for there to be a way to move up the salary broad band, and this was a part of the new Contracts and Levels structure which was put forward by NHBC and accepted by all staff.
• The discretionary pot will in this year largely adjust for discrepancies in salary caused by the implementation of the second year of that restructure.
• We are in talks over how any future discretionary element may be allocated to reward high performance, and we are initially confident that there is a high level of oversight from Heads of Department through to HR to ensure that there are no biases.

Median pay
• NHBC have said in talks that their intention is pay at the median level. This is not a contractual right.
• We always look at the ‘live’ median pay data from the HMRC website. Headline reports are often for all employees, where the HMRC does allow us to look at the Finance and Construction sectors, which show a great deal of difference. 2016-2024 for finance shows a 44% increase in median pay where construction lags with only 25% increase.
• The median salary increase for the whole economy shown above is 35%, which, coincidentally, is around the average of the figures for finance and construction sectors.

Timing
• We negotiate in November/December so that any pay increase can be implemented in April.
• Previously, we negotiated later for a July implementation.
• Whenever we negotiate we will always be using forecasts on the future, which may or may not be correct.
• Examples of this are recent – 2020 for Covid and 2022 for the Ukraine war. Both happened after negotiations had taken place and could not have been predicted, but had very large impacts on cost of living and pay.

Ballots
• The ballot on the offer is a key moment for members to express their opinion.
• Your negotiating team do not make any decision on whether to accept or reject an offer. We have recommended acceptance to members and, at times, we have remained neutral, leaving the decision to the members.
• The offer that goes to ballot has not been accepted at that time.
• The ‘No’ vote this year was the largest we have had since we started balloting on the pay offer in 2017.
• Should we ever have a pay offer rejected at ballot we will return to the negotiating table to try to improve any offer, but ultimately members must be mindful that a ‘No’ vote is likely to require further ballots, perhaps on industrial action.
• Members must remember this point. If you vote ‘No’ to any offer, and then vote ‘No’ to industrial action, this really leaves us in a difficult position.
• Saying this, I do not believe that we will ever be in a position where we have to arrange a ballot on action.

Joint Comms
• We have had comments that the issue of Joint communication with NHBC may give the impression that the offer has been agreed. This is not the case.
• The communication always says it is subject to ballot of SA members, and we have indicated in the past whether we recommend acceptance or remain neutral. This year we remained neutral.
• We will take this feedback on board. Next year we perhaps will not issue a joint communication when going to ballot, and may do this later, following the ballot results.

Profits at half-year
• We had several comments on the half-year profits reported by NHBC.
• Clearly any pay offer has to be sustainable, and profits driven by investments returns can be wiped out as quickly as they appeared in the accounts.
• The figures were not available to us when we started negotiations, only being announced as we went to ballot. However, we would always look deeper than the headline, to operating profit which this year was weaker.
• Profits are, of course, a gateway measure on the NHBC Bonus Scorecard, so may affect total reward.
• In the past, NHBC have made pay offers even when a loss has been made, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Workloads
• There were a number of comments on individual workloads, which cannot form part of a pay negotiation.
• If you have concerns over your workload then please raise this with your line manager.

First membership fee increase in 25 years!

Following our recent ballot, members have overwhelmingly supported a 50p increase in our membership fee. The increase will start from 1 May 2024.

If you have joined from February or through March/April, your first couple of months will be paid at the current rate of £2/month, and then all members will pay £2.50/month from the May payday.

Building Safety Registration Update 2

14 Feb Update - we have had some further discussion with HR colleagues. We believe that the points which you have raised have been fully considered and will shortly issue our FAQ in response via email, as stated below.

We are waiting for one answer regarding the registration fee for year 2. Our point is that this should be considered as a professional registration, and therefore covered by NHBC in common with the current policy on supporting two registrations.

Once have a response to this, we will add this to the FAQ.

8 Feb Update - we have had responses to some questions which we raised but discussion is ongoing. We have been told that no FAQ will be issued by the business, so we will compile one as soon as we are able and circulate this. As this is an external website, the FAQ will be circulated internally via email. We do have some positive news though:

  1. It was the intention that the recoverable amount will reduce by 1/24 for each month during the 2 year period. This was not made clear in the Docusign letter but will be applied.
  2. Ongoing registration fees outside of the 2 year period are not subject to a claw back.

Further updates to follow - please bookmark the page.

Original post - We have been made aware of various concerns and questions regarding recent communication regarding BSR. while I understand that you may have been directed to your Line Manager or others in the management chain, we are raising your concerns at the highest level.

We will post further updates to this news feed as we have substantive updates for you, and if you are concerned over the terms of the agreement that you have either signed or are yet to sign, please reach out to our usual Staff Association mailbox, your local rep or a rep for you functional area.

Julia at TUC LGBT+ Conference

In June recently represented the NHBC SA members at the annual TUC LGBT+ Committee.

I was proud to be Chair of Conference for the first Thursday morning session, opening Conference and making sure everyone felt included, including those who were there on their own or for the first time.

As a member of the TUC LGBT+ Committee and a member of the NHBC LGBT+ Network steering group, taking part in this conference enables me to represent members’ views and further show NHBC as a progressive organisation.

At Thursday lunchtime, I chaired the Trans and Non-binary Worker’s Caucus, where other delegates could attend in a safe space. I heard some disturbing reports of bias and discrimination from other union reps, thankfully situations I don’t recognise as a trans woman at NHBC.

During the Conference I spoke in support of one motion and proposed an emergency motion regarding the behaviour of the Board of the EHRC who have taken some unusual positions on trans rights. In particular some advice to Government which, if made into laws, would affect many other gender non-confirming people be they trans, non-binary or just look different to other people.

I was successfully re-elected to the LGBT+ Committee for my 5th year

BGCM JG 1a

Your SA @ GFTU

In May the Executive Committee attended the GFTU Biennial General Council meeting, or BGCM. This started on a Sunday lunchtime and ran through to Tuesday afternoon, and we had a very busy couple of days!

The BGCM is the GFTU’s policy making conference, and this was an important one, welcoming in a new General Secretary, Gawain Little, with the current GS, Doug Nicholls, retiring. I first met Doug some time ago and he was a good help to our former Gen Sec, Tom, and has also been a help to me with advice and accessing services which have benefited a number of SA members.

I was proud to speak in support of motions regarding better fitting PPE for women along with the confusing and changing landscape of student loans. These have recently changed and will impact more graduates in the future, with women disproportionately affected by repayments. I know many of you will have children or other family members who will be affected by this.

I was also pleased to propose a motion to the BGCM which will enhance how the GFTU supports smaller unions with equality issues. Many bigger unions have separate equality structures to support their members, which mirror NHBC’s networks. With gender pay gap reporting, we know how women’s pay is below that of men doing a similar job and this is reflected in NHBC’s reporting - here.

TUC reports indicate a similar gap with disabled workers, Black workers (TUC term used) and LGBT+ workers.

Supporting smaller unions like ours with their equality structures will help us share best practice and get stronger for you, our members.

NHBC SA at TUC Women's Conference

Two NHBC SA Reps - Gemma Payne and Lotti Corrie - were recently at the TUC Women's Conference. Gemma writes:

The conference was very interesting and had many areas of discussion. The main focus was around sexual harassment in the work place, misogyny, the gender pay gap, and women’s health although many other topics were also raised.

All motions, except one, were carried unanimously

The motion that was not carried was to request for menopause to be added to the list of disabilities in the protected characteristics. The fear of opening up the protected characteristics found in the Equalities Act 2010 for scrutiny under the current government could completely backfire and do more harm than good.

The consensus is that the menopause should sit alone as it’s own characteristic, at least until a government that will not pick away at the current protected characteristics are in power.

TUC Women's Conference 2023
Tuc Womens Conference 2023 2

 

Rachel Reeves – Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, attended the conference for a brief half an hour. She was asked some questions from the floor including being asked the question set by Julia ahead of the conference:

“The gender pay gap remains stubbornly high with an impact throughout working life and beyond into retirement. What action would a Labour Government take to close the gap within its first term of office?”

The response was that there is going to be a gender pay gap review, headed up by Frances O’Grady – The former TUC General Secretary, and that the ambition is to close the pay gap at a faster pace than the current expected 20 years.

New SA Secretary

We are pleased to announce that the SA has a new secretary - Tracey Hughes.

Tracey works in CAT and has been at NHBC for 21 years, so has a wealth of experience to bring to the role. She will be a great addition to Your SA executive team.

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