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my employers want to demote me 2 levels...

(21 Posts)
colalight Fri 14-Apr-17 10:48:26

I've name changed for this as it may be outing. I'd really like some advice on what I can do.

I have a professional qualification and work for a very large public sector organisation. For 14 years I did the job my qualification enabled me to do. This was a permanent position. Lets say it is grade B in the pay structure.

For the past 2 years I was seconded into another role in the organisation at the next level up, lets say its grade A. This secondment came to an end with a restructure that meant three people in the team having to apply for the same permanent job at grade A. I did not get it and the other unsuccessful person has since left the organisation.

I was told verbally if I was unsuccessful I would be offered a permanent position in the team at grade B. I really like what I do, I like the team and I verbally accepted the new role.

However, I've just found out that the pay structure has changed. There is now B1 and B2. B1 is for those with the professional qualification and B2 is for others in the organisation who do not.

They want to make me B2, which is effectively 2 levels below where I have been for the past 2 years. It is a pay drop of about £4000 per annum but the status/level is what bothers me more than the pay.

HR say its because I'm not doing the professional job anymore, but I not only have that professional qualification, I now have the next qualification up, which many of my old colleagues do not have.

I'm really angry. I worked hard for that qualification, I worked hard for 14 years in that previous job. I still work for the same company.

I feel I am being forced to choose between going back to my old position (I did not like my old team) or doing what I love, but for much less.

HR say they'll try to minimise the impact, DH thinks they might do some sort of pay protection for a few years but after those few years, I'll still be paid less than I would be if I go back to my substantive post.

AIBU? What can I do? I am in a union and will try to get their advice.

LurkingHusband Fri 14-Apr-17 10:51:49

The words constructive dismissal seem to fit ?

CotswoldStrife Fri 14-Apr-17 10:57:12

A secondment means you can return to your original post when the secondment ends. You seem to have applied for a different post, and that post is at a different level so I can't see any salary protection kicking in, unfortunately. If the post that is available is not at the professional qualification level, then they'd have to change the duties to make it so - which sounds unlikely.

I would not describe it as being 'forced' at all or your employers demoting you tbh. You have the chance to go back to your pre-secondment position which is presumably a B1. By all means seek your Union's advice (has their been a job evaluation scheme during the secondment) as they will know if anyone else has been successful with this.

TreeTop7 Fri 14-Apr-17 10:58:27

I don't want to worry you, but could they be trying to squeeze you out? Not because you've been poor, but they may want cheaper staff who are less experienced but still competent.

Cheby Fri 14-Apr-17 11:02:22

Your secondment has ended, so you'll return to your original position. You've got a choice between that or something else, which happens to be lower paid. It's up to you. I don't think your employer has done anything wrong here.

PastysPrincess Fri 14-Apr-17 11:03:25

This exact thing happened where I work. There were certain protections regarding pay that meant we didn't lose pay but the current wage was frozen until cost of living wages meant you caught up. I'm not sure if that is due to a law or due to bargaining by our union. One of my colleagues was downgraded and it had a massive impact on him.

I would suggest that there's not much you can do about it except check that you have been treated fairly against others in the organisation.

Bluntness100 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:03:41

If the job is classed as b2 you cannot force them to make it a b1 as you have a classification and want the job, the job is what the job is and he have told you it's not a role that requires qualification

You also were aware you were on secondment , you were never an a. You have the option of going back to your original b1 job. The fact your don't want to , doesn't make the company at fault.

I really can't see what the union can do or what the company has done wrong. You simply didn't get the a role permanently and you want the b2 level job and want It to be classified as if it's level one.thats not reasonable.

Bluntness100 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:06:12

I'd also say no one wants to demote you.

Firstly you were never an A, you were always a b1. You can stay at this level, you just don't want to do the job associated with it. You want to do the job associated with b2 and that's a personal choice.

BarbarianMum Fri 14-Apr-17 11:07:31

Pay scales are usually calibrated on the demands of the role rather than the qualifications of the individual aren't they? Unless you need said qualifications to do the job in question.

Why not return to your old position then start job hunting from there?

Judydreamsofhorses Fri 14-Apr-17 11:13:46

So the choice is that you either go back to your substantive post, or accept the new post at lower pay/grade? While I understand neither of those options appeal, I think the company is totally within their rights to offer this. The secondment has ended.

colalight Fri 14-Apr-17 11:13:50

there are people in the organisation who have eg doctorates but will be paid less than those with this particular professional qualification because they neither have it nor do that particular job. Its madness.

This is something those professionals (except me) have been fighting for for years but the management resisted for the reasons I've outlined above. However, we now seem to have weak management.

We all make a valuable contribution to the organisation but it seems some are valued more than others. They should have kept grade B as just that, grade B, without splitting it.

EweAreHere Fri 14-Apr-17 11:18:37

I agree with BarbarianMum. I would consider going back to your old position and looking for other opportunities within and without.

scaryclown Fri 14-Apr-17 11:20:53

I think maybe say 'I understand what you are doing with the job, but the impact on me is that it slows future career development, what con you offer to resolve that' and see what happens.

GirlcalledJames Fri 14-Apr-17 11:22:27

Look elsewhere at the level the secondment was at. They have shown you that after two years' experience they won't make you permanent at that level. You won't be getting any more experience at that level as the new job is lower. Move on, if you can.

colalight Fri 14-Apr-17 11:23:28

thanks scaryclown that's what I was thinking of doing/saying.

I also have a disability so where I got to was an extra achievement for me. Getting back up the ladder is going to be even harder than it will be for anyone else.

I feel they have taken away my achievements and kicked me when I am down (the restructure and interview process was really stressful and impacted negatively on my health).

scaryclown Fri 14-Apr-17 11:27:52

I hear what you are saying about people with professional qualifications decisiing that professional qualifications should get a premium, but you do show some of that thinking yourself, so just be aware that trading quals means that you agree that quals mean something separate from ability..

I've been in an institution where a PhD means nothing in terms of being able to do the job, but people with PhDs doing the job badly get paid more than people without doing it outstandingly well. Quals are crazy to use as a metric for ability.. but that's a separate issue I feel.

Your issue is that you are competent and capable at a much higher level, and they are a. not making use of that and b, ingnoring it, because they had a brain fart in a meeting and thought you were the last piece of the jigsaw to fit a lower grade job. You have to get them to go back to a meeting with a view to shuffling things around because they were wrong about you blithely accepting that.

Perhaps you could come up with reasons and justifcations why someone else should be in the lower role and you in a higher role - eg closeness to strategic input/dotted line input to senior team etc?

Of course done well, that would show your capability toshuffle staff yourself, and be a good thing to talk about at your next interview if you don't get what you want lol.

Contact headhunting agencies straight away - nothing to lose, something to gain and some nice ego points in the bank hopefully that will strengthen your negotiations

scaryclown Fri 14-Apr-17 11:29:29

Gently ask how disability was used in the selection criteria.. and 'are there other examples of people with disabilities being placed below their capability?'

You need to frame you as a playing chip they are deliberately underplaying and be 'curious' as to the logic of that..

highinthesky Fri 14-Apr-17 11:33:23

there are people in the organisation who have eg doctorates but will be paid less than those with this particular professional qualification because they neither have it nor do that particular job. Its madness.

No it's not. If they choose to undertake a different role, and one they are overqualified for, that is their decision.

Stop muddying the issue with this fairness fallacy, and and concentrate on your own difficulties. Public sector organisations have rigorous procedures to protect employers and have to apply these rules. Contact your union for support.

GinAndTunic Fri 14-Apr-17 11:52:12

No advice but you do have my sympathy, OP.

notanurse2017 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:57:48

I think Bluntness has got the situation right here, Op. I'd go back to my old role and look for other opportunities.

UppityHumpty Fri 14-Apr-17 13:58:21

Get the union involved

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