This included time for detailed consultation so that PCS could work to maximise leave for our members and ensure that the cover that management stated was needed over the festive leave would be kept as low as possible. Talks with the union can also ensure that maximum use is made of virtualisation of the work so that differences in demand for leave between different offices can be utilised.
In the directorates where the above process was followed, we have had the least problems in sorting out the festive leave. This contrasts with where management has simply ignored the process and continued as before creating the most problems. Where demand for leave outstrips the cover, there should be proper management decisions that consider individual member’s different circumstances. Poor methods like “names in a hat” to decide who gets leave should not be used.
We highlighted this year that most of our members would want leave over the Christmas and New Year weeks due to the school holidays predominantly falling over this period.
The festive leave process has also continued to expose the lack of staff and the problems dealing with the backlog of work. We have argued that the priority for operations should be to focus on dealing with processing work to get the payments up to date and claimants paid before the peak leave period.
We will continue to argue to maximise leave levels using the most up to date forecasts about demand from the public. Any members who still have problems with festive leave should raise them with their local PCS reps.
Operations resources management has recognised why we again pushed to improve the process this year and will be meeting us in the new year to discuss how to do better next year. Members can feed into this review via their local reps.