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What is it all about?
Fujitsu is finally setting up a new European Works Council to inform and consult employees about issues affecting employees in more than one European country. Most UK employees already have some information & consultation rights through Fujitsu Voice, but the new Fujitsu European Consultative Forum (FECF) will strengthen this in several key ways:
The UK will have five representatives and five substitutes. The Republic of Ireland will have one representative and one substitute.
The reps will be expected to keep abreast of developments within Fujitsu and liaise both with representatives within their own country (e.g. Fujitsu Voice, UNITE) and with the “Select Committee” subcommittee which will coordinate the FECF between meetings. Other than in exceptional circumstances, it is expected that there will be one full FECF meeting each year, plus two meetings of a subcommittee covering the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Other business is likely to be conducted by email and voice conferencing etc. It is likely that a few of the reps from the UK & Ireland will need to take on additional responsibility on subcommittees. Reps are entitled to work time to carry out their responsibilities. The working language of the FECF is English.
A copy of the FECF agreement is here on the intranet. It is a little hard to follow because it was drafted by people from various countries, in English, under German law.
The good news is that after three years of negotiation, we have a legally enforceable agreement (known as an "article 6" agreement in the jargon) - so employees may have legal comeback if Fujitsu fails to inform and consult properly.
How will the election work in the UK?
All UK employees of any Fujitsu company will have the chance to vote. Voting is expected to take place from 1 to 12 September 2014. The election is by Single Transferable Vote (STV) and conducted by Electoral Reform Services. STV means you can vote for as many or as few candidates as you like, by putting them in order of your preference.
The four candidates with the best vote from Fujitsu Services Limited and the one candidate with the best vote employed by another company will become the five UK reps. The four candidates with the next best vote from Fujitsu Services Limited and the one candidate with the next best vote employed by another company will become the five UK substitutes.
Who do the unions recommend we vote for?
Whether you're a union member or not, you"re better off electing union members to represent you on the FECF because they have access to the training, advice and support to be effective on your behalf - independent of what the company provides. The unions provide important networks with reps on European Works Councils in other companies, which can help your reps adopt best practice and improve what happens in Fujitsu. UNITE employs experts on European Works Councils who provide advice and support to members involved in them.
A key part of the role of FECF reps will be liaising with reps within each country. In the UK that primarily means UNITE, PCS and Fujitsu Voice. This helps ensure that discussions within the UK have the benefit of information provided at European level, and that information given is consistent as complete as possible, rather than just part of the picture.
Unite has worked together with PCS and other unions with members in Fujitsu, to identify candidates who can attract wide support from employees.
Unite is encouraging employees to vote for the following candidates first:
For the UK:
For the Republic of Ireland:
The PCS union is also encouraging employees to vote for the same candidates, but not necessarily in the same order.
Please put the union-backed candidate(s) top of your list, then vote for as many or few of the other candidates as you want. Voting for other candidates after your top preferences is a good idea. It does not reduce the chances of success for your top choices.
As on Fujitsu Voice, we expect FECF reps work together regardless of whether they happen to be union members.
Please join UNITE if you're not a member yet.