RNIB Scotland staff have put forward an alternative plan to its London office in a bid to prevent staff tranferring to English Action for Blind People
Staff at RNIB Scotland are rebelling against London plans to transfer their employment to charity Action for Blind People.
TFN has learned that senior staff and committee members have put forward an alternative plan for the future of the Scottish arm of the charity.
Action for Blind People, which has a separate charity number and different terms and conditions to RNIB, is a wholly owned subsidiary of RNIB.
RNIB Scotland staff understand that they all 225 of them, including director John Legg, will report to Action for Blind People, which currently runs services in England, under the new plans.
However, they are worried the organisation doesn’t currently operate in Scotland and has no understanding of the different health environment or of working with the Scottish Parliament.
A source told TFN: “It feels like some backroom deal has been done to sell off RNIB Scotland. Our chair, director, committee and all the staff are unhappy with the move as nobody understands why it’s happening; they’ve not provided us with any compelling reason as to why this will strengthen the organisation.
It feels like some backroom deal has been done to sell off RNIB Scotland
“We’ve been told that this will bring us together under a single umbrella, but we’re already together under the RNIB umbrella.
The source added: “This is the worst possible time to bring in an English charity with no experience of the Scottish health envrionment, if they’re that unattuned to what is going on in Scotland, what will this mean for RNIB Scotland?”
Staff are already in consultation with trade unions Unison and Unite over the issue and negotiations are ongoing.
RNIB’s London office told TFN it is still consulting about whether all RNIB Scotland staff will move to Action of Blind People or not.
However, staff who are transferred will retain RNIB terms and conditions under TUPE (transfer of undertakings) laws and it is believed at least some elements of the existing operation will still operate under the name RNIB Scotland.
It also said the RNIB Scotland committee will continue to exist.
A spokesman said: “Should the transfer go ahead Action for Blind People will carry out a governance review from September 2015 as one of the main pieces of feedback from committee members was that they would want to have a strengthened role.
“The governance review would help us determine what that role is and would involve current committee members within it.”
Currently, RNIB Scotland and Action for Blind People are registered as separate charities with Scotland’s charity regulator. RNIB’s London office denied that this move would mean the effective closure of RNIB Scotland and didn’t rule out a formal merger between RNIB and Action for Blind People at some point.
He said: “Ultimately all services delivered by the RNIB group of charities remain part of RNIB including those managed by Action for Blind People.
“The evolving nature of our relationship means we're always open to reviewing things to improve how we work together.”