LRD Booklets December 2016

Performance management and capability procedures - a guide for union reps and negotiators



[pages 3-4]

Punitive and dysfunctional performance management systems and capability processes top the workplace agenda for a growing number of union reps. Low morale, raised levels of mental ill-health, distress and discriminatory outcomes are just some of the harmful effects experienced by workers. In addition, where performance is linked to pay, these systems undermine collective bargaining and pay transparency, and stand in the way of decent pay for all workers.

This booklet contains examples of successful campaigns by unions across a variety of workplaces to push back against destructive performance management systems, as well as practical guidance to help reps to support individual members, either at the informal stages of the appraisal process or because they face a formal capability process and possible dismissal.

Chapter 1 contains an overview of unions’ main concerns in relation to performance management (PM) regimes, and also focuses on PM in the financial services sector;

Chapter 2 looks at the campaign by the civil service unions to end punitive PM and “forced distribution”, a widely discredited rating system used to evaluate employees in the civil service;

Chapter 3 focuses on appraisal and the link to pay in junior and secondary level education;

Chapter 4 is a case study of a successful campaign against a punitive PM system fought by the Newcastle University branch of the University and College Union (UCU);

Chapter 5 sets out guidance for individual members during the appraisal process and is based on advice given by various unions;

Chapter 6 contains guidance for reps representing a member in a capability hearing based on allegations of poor performance, summarising the main legal principles that apply and setting out some practical arguments that can be considered with the individual member;

Chapter 7 looks at different union campaigning methods in the context of PM, and the laws that entitle recognised unions to ask for information about pay outcomes from employers.