Union secures payout for Home Office apprentices
PCS says campaign netted ‘significant boost’ for 100-plus staffers left in pay limbo
Windows at the Home Office's Marsham Street headquarters Credit: PA
The Public and Commercial Service trade union says it has secured a “significant” payout for more than 100 Home Office apprentices after the termination of an agreement with a training provider left them trapped on below-grade wages.
PCS said its campaign followed the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s decision to remove Premier Partnership from its register of approved training providers in the wake of a damning Ofsted report. The move affected more than 650 apprentices, including Home office employees who remained on an apprenticeship wage below the minimum for the grade of work they were apprenticed to.
The union said that months of campaigning had been required to get the Home Office to convert the apprentices’ terms of employment to permanent contracts and backdate the deals, plus an associated pay rise, to the date Premier’s contract was terminated.
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PCS lead negotiator Neil Masters said last week that the abrupt ending of the Premier contract was not the only issue that had dogged the provision of training at the department.
“There’ve been a lot of problems with the Home Office apprenticeship schemes,” he said.
“However we’re now making headway and have developed a constructive relationship with the current employer apprenticeship team.”
PCS said elements of its battle to secure pay adjustments for the Home Office apprentices were still ongoing as it was still seeking back pay for some apprentices who were promoted before the general agreement was implemented.
Premier People Solutions, which trades as Premier Partnership, was one of 16 providers appointed to a framework for the delivery of civil service apprenticeships training in 2017.
The Ofsted monitoring report that saw Premier removed from the ESFA register said the Doncaster-based firm was making “insufficient progress” in all of the key areas of the inspection.
A Home Office spokesperson told CSW: “We have worked with the Public and Commercial Service Union and our apprentices to ensure that none were unfairly disadvantaged.
“Given the difficulties associated with securing an alternative apprentice supplier at short notice, we took the decision to place the apprentices on permanent contracts.”