September 28, 2007

Lifelong Learning (Fujitsu Manchester newsletter)

To see an electronic copy of our latest paper one-per-desk leaflet on CafeVik, click here (a local version is here).

Posted by IMH at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2007

UK Consultative Forum Elections

As previously reported, there will be elections to all the seats on the company’s UK Consultative Forum (UKCF) in October.

The UKCF consists of elected employee reps from across the country meeting with management, discussing issues such as:

  • Company plans and strategies, reorganisations
  • Employment trends and threats
  • Changes to employment contracts and working arrangements
  • TUPE transfers
  • Health & Safety
  • Pay and Benefits
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Training and Development

It isn't a union body, but most of the reps are also union members. The UKCF plays a useful role and having union members on the body is essential to making it as effective as possible. It’s also important that the UKCF and the unions play complementary roles, rather than undermining each other.

UNITE is working with the other unions in Fujitsu to ensure there are a good range of candidates that everyone can support. In response to previous notices, the following potential candidates have already come forward:

Constituency No. of seats Potential Candidates (Union, base)
London, South & East 4 Ken Stainsby (UNISON, STE04)
Linden Smith (UNITE, STE04)
Midlands 2 Alasdair Lewis (UNITE, HOM99)
Kim Heptinstall (UNITE, SOL10)
Martin Bright (PCS, TEL02)
North East 1 John Garvani (UNITE, HOM99/WAK01)
North West 3 Barbara Mead-Mason (UNITE, HOM99)
Dean Burn (UNITE, MAN33)
Ian Allinson (UNITE, MAN34)
--- (UNITE, CRE02)
Nikki Aldridge (UNITE, MAN34)
Pauline Bradburn (UNITE, MAN35)
Robert (Wilf) Williams (UNITE, CRE02)
Northern Ireland 1 Tony Hamill (UNITE, IRE11)
Scotland 1 Alan Black (UNITE, GLA15)
Thames Valley and South-West 4 Joe Harrison (UNITE, BRA01)
Jonathan Jenner (UNITE, BRA01)
Wales 1 Andy Fryer (PCS, SWN03)

UNITE is keen to hear from more union members who are interested in standing, regardless of how many potential candidates have already come forward, but particularly from “London, South & East” and “Thames Valley and South-West”.

We’d like to see the UKCF having a good mix of candidates from different sites, job types, age, gender etc. We will encourage the potential candidates to try to agree amongst themselves who would be the best possible mix of candidates for union members to back. If agreement can’t be reached, we will ask members in each region to decide who to back.

If you are interested in standing, please get in touch as soon as possible.

We would encourage members to discuss nominations with other potential candidates prior to submitting a nomination form.

More information

· The UK Consultative Forum community on CafeVIK

· Union material from previous elections: www.ourunion.org.uk/ukcf.htm

Posted by IMH at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

New UNITE agreements for Fujitsu Manchester signed

The new agreements were officially signed yesterday.

Official signing.jpg

Front (left to right): Terry Thompson (UNITE Regional Officer), Brian Sykes (ACAS), Larry Upton (Fujitsu Employee Relations Manager)
Back (left to right): Mick Beadsley (Fujitsu Head of Government Helpdesks), Lynne Hodge (UNITE deputy senior rep), Ian Allinson (UNITE senior rep)

Posted by IA at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2007

Unite and Fujitsu Settle Dispute

A dispute between Unite the Union and Fujitsu, an IT services company based in Manchester, over redundancy rights, union recognition and better pay has been settled.

Unite members at the site have voted by 99.6% on an 89.2% turnout to accept the company’s offer for new agreements covering union recognition, redundancy and redeployment rights, pay and benefits. More than 1000 employees, who work at the Central Park site or are based at home, can benefit from these new agreements.

Unite North West Regional Secretary, Laurence Faircloth, said: “Our members are pleased that so many issues have been successfully resolved to end the dispute. We now hope to build a much better working relationship with Fujitsu.”

Larry Upton, Fujitsu Services’ Employee Relations Manager, said: “I am delighted that we have put this dispute behind us and can now go on to develop a relationship with Unite in Manchester that will be of benefit to our employees, our customers and the company as a whole.”

Fujitsu Services and Unite have recently agreed a protocol on facilities for organising Fujitsu sites where there is no union recognition agreement. A Learning Partnership Agreement has also been reached, improving access to training and development for Manchester employees.

For further information please contact:
Unite the Union - Karen Viquerat on 01704 546 500 or 07768931316
Fujitsu – Graham Goulden on 0870 234 9568

About Unite the Union
Unite – The Union is the biggest trade union in the UK, formed through the merger of Amicus and TGWU. Unite organises in many industries, including all the major IT companies.

Unite has members across Fujitsu Services in the UK and Ireland and already has union recognition in several parts of the company.

Visit www.unitetheunion.org.uk.

About Fujitsu Services
Fujitsu Services is a leading European information technology services company. Its business is helping its customers realise the value of information technology through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed service contracts. It serves customers in the private and public sectors across Europe including retail, financial services, healthcare and Government. With an annual turnover of £2.46 billion (€3.59 billion), it employs over 19,000 people across 20 countries. Headquartered in London, Fujitsu Services is the European IT services arm of the US$43.2 billion (€32.5 billion) Fujitsu Group.

Visit uk.fujitsu.com

Posted by IMH at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

It's A Deal! (Fujitsu Manchester newsletter)

To see an electronic copy of our latest paper one-per-desk leaflet on CafeVik, click here (a local version is here).

Posted by IA at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Offshoring

The company is increasingly employing people in locations with cheap labour. This is now significantly affecting development, helpdesks, support and design (CSA) jobs.

The latest “One Per Desk” leaflet being circulated at Central Park includes an update on company plans, explains how the new “Annex 1” agreement will help protect jobs and careers, and advertises the UNITE demonstration at the Labour Party conference on 23rd September, where offshoring will be a major theme. Copies of the leaflet are available on Café VIK and on OurUnion.

You can find out more (and book free transport from all over the country) at: www.amicustheunion.org/marchwithamessage.

Posted by IMH at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

The Manchester Dispute Is Over

Manchester members accepted the company offer by a massive 99.6% majority, on an 89.2% turnout. The deal took effect yesterday and the company has now issued an email notice to all those in scope, i.e.:

a) Contractually based at Central Park, or
b) Contractually based at home, and living within 30 miles of Central Park, or
c) Contractually based at home and requested inclusion on the supplementary list agreed between the Company and the Union.

The new agreements are available in full on the “Amicus The Union” Café VIK community.

A big thank you to everyone who voted.

A jointly agreed statement about the settlement is being issued to the media. A version of this statement is available on the OurUnion web site.

Over the next week, the company will send a paper version of the announcement of the deal to employees’ home addresses. We strongly advise you to keep this in a safe place, as it is evidence of the changes to your contract of employment.

Posted by IMH at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2007

UNITE-Amicus: Greater Manchester IT Branch - Branch Meeting

The next meeting of our branch is:

6pm-7:30pm, Thursday 6th September
Upstairs, Hare & Hounds pub, Shudehill, Manchester city centre, M4 4AA
[Near the Shudehill Metrolink station and the spiral ramp to the Arndale car park]

A guest speaker from UNISON Manchester Community and Mental Health branch will give an update on their dispute (over the suspension of Karen Reissmann, their branch chair). They were on strike for three days last week, will be out again Monday 10th – Wednesday 12th. As well as appealing for financial and practical support, they are asking supporters to join them in a demonstration marching from:

Peace Gardens, St Peters Square, Manchester (by the town hall)
Assemble 1pm, Sunday 9th September

There will also be time for reports and discussion on workplace issues as well as for dealing with branch business. All branch members are welcome at the meeting.

Our members at Fujitsu Manchester are currently voting on an offer to settle their long-running dispute – voting closes on Monday.

Posted by IMH at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2007

Annual Leave Entitlement

The UK government has for some years counted bank holidays towards the minimum 20 days paid annual leave required under the EU Working Time Directive. Unions have been campaigning hard against this injustice, which is exploited by many employers.

This is now being addressed, with a first phase increasing the total to 24 days (including bank holidays) from October 2007 and then a second phase increasing to 28 days (i.e. 20 days plus 8 bank holidays) from April 2008.

The TUC says six million workers will benefit from the increase in paid leave.

It shouldn’t have any effect on direct Fujitsu employees, as our minimum already went up from 28 days (20 plus 8 bank holidays) to 33 days (25 plus 8 bank holidays) during the industrial action in Manchester in 2003.

However, many subcontractors such as cleaners will be among those to benefit.

A report by Incomes Data Services (IDS) says the UK will still lag behind entitlement elsewhere in Europe, which ranges from 28-29 days in the Netherlands to 39.5 days in Denmark.

Unions are lobbying for an additional bank holiday in the UK.

Posted by IMH at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

UK Consultative Forum Report

The company’s UK Consultative Forum (UKCF) had a meeting on 25/26 July 2007. The official report has now been approved by HR and published on CafeVIK.

Though the UKCF isn’t a union body, UNITE and the other unions in Fujitsu have put a lot of effort into trying to make the UKCF as effective as possible.

Nearly all the UKCF reps are now union members, and it has been noticeable that the attendance record of the few non-union members at UKCF meetings is poor.

Best wishes to Andy Batchelor, UNITE and UKCF rep from Solihull, who has left Fujitsu to train to be a priest.

Elections

All the seats on the UKCF will be up for election in October. UNITE is working with the other unions in Fujitsu to ensure there are a good range of candidates that everyone can support. If you are interested in standing, please get in touch.

You can see some of the material from previous elections here:

www.ourunion.org.uk/ukcf.htm

Other Forums

Our Reps on the UKCF elect some of their number onto the Fujitsu Services Consultative Forum (FSCF) – the international equivalent. This is becoming more important as Fujitsu Services grows outside the UK. With the growing importance of offshoring, it would be particularly useful if the company implements the 2003 FSCF agreement and includes reps from outside the EU (e.g. Russia and South Africa).

The minutes of the July FSCF meeting are on CafeVIK.

The FSCF itself then sends a delegation to an annual meeting of the equivalent bodies across the Fujitsu group in Europe. The minutes of the July 2007 meeting are now on CafeVIK too.

Posted by IMH at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

Offshoring

Fujitsu is stepping up its efforts to do more work using workers in cheaper locations around the world. This is often referred to as “offshoring” (or “nearshoring” where the location is closer, usually within the EU).

Key locations for Fujitsu Services include India, South Africa, Portugal, Northern Ireland and Russia.

You can read some general UNITE/Amicus information on offshoring on the union’s national web site.

People in other countries want decent jobs just as much as we do, but this shouldn’t make us shy away from protecting our own futures. Most people would reasonably object if their job was taken from them and given to someone on half the pay, whether it was on the next desk or half a world away.

As well as the relatively well established areas of software development and some call centres, Fujitsu’s push offshore/nearshore is now affecting jobs in second-line support and even design (CSAs).

With Fujitsu Services expanding rapidly, the company hopes to increase the workforce offshore without a significant negative impact on GB employees. Concerns raised include:

  • Will good jobs be available for everyone displaced?
  • Will adequate training be provided to support people through the change?
  • What jobs will be left? Will career paths disappear if certain roles tend to move overseas?
  • Will Data Protection and privacy concerns be adequately addressed?
  • Will employees in the offshore locations be treated properly?
  • If jobs do disappear in GB, what redundancy payments will be made? Will volunteers be sought rather than compulsory redundancies?

These are concerns that can’t be tackled on an individual basis. We need effective union organisation in every location to protect our jobs and careers.

As well as campaigning within Fujitsu to protect our jobs and careers, we need to campaign to improve the legal, economic and political framework Fujitsu (and we) operate in.

UNITE has called a major national demonstration for Sunday 23rd September at the Labour Party conference. The key theme of the march for IT and Finance workers is for Employment rights to protect jobs from offshoring. Demands include:

  • That UK companies inform their customers that their details may be accessed abroad
  • That companies inform customers of the measures they have implemented to ensure their personal data is protected
  • Job protection equal to those enjoyed by workers in Europe
  • Improved information and consultation in restructuring
  • Improved redundancy pay
  • Obligations on employers to provide a social plan as part of major redundancy proposals

UNITE is laying on free transport to the demonstration for members, friends and families. Please book your place and ensure UNITE’s message is heard loud and clear.

For more information, see www.amicustheunion.org/marchwithamessage/.

Posted by IMH at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Working Week, Overtime, Shifts and Standby

Fujitsu wants to “harmonise” aspects of our contracts of employment relating to the normal working week, overtime, shifts and standby. They refer to this as “Out Of Hours” even though it affects normal working hours too.

The company has set up a group consisting of employee reps from UNITE, PCS and the UKCF to discuss harmonisation.

The company’s initial ideas were so outrageous that the reps and company agreed not to publish them, as they would set expectations so low. Despite this, Infrastructure Services (without consultation) revamped them as “interim guidelines” and started applying them to new employees or people who moved around the organisation.

Not only do these guidelines involve paying far less than most people get at the moment for working Out Of Hours, they also define “core” hours as being 8am-8pm, Monday to Saturday. This means you get no more for working at 7pm on a Saturday evening than at 10am on a Tuesday!

The IS guidelines can be read on CafeVIK. The contrast couldn’t be more stark with the union-negotiated “Unsocial Hours Policy” (UHP) that still covers many employees.

HR confirmed that Fujitsu will not use the “interim guidelines” in those parts of the company covered by union recognition. Employee reps asked the company to withdraw the guidelines elsewhere, pointing out that their introduction without consultation breaks the UKCF agreement. The contrast is another demonstration of the benefits of union recognition.

UNITE and the PCS union (which also has members in Fujitsu) have agreed to work jointly on this issue. We have already launched an online survey which members and non-members can fill in (details via www.ourunion.org.uk/ooh). The two unions have now agreed a joint leaflet. If you’re interested in getting the leaflet distributed at your site, please call Sarah Holden, UNITE senior organiser, on 07919 307 433.

In the near future, we expect Fujitsu to write out to the 5000+ UK employees who have received payment for working overtime, shifts or standby in the last year or so. The letter is an attempt to clean up HR database records which indicate which payment system the company thinks you are on. This is a very welcome move, as the data currently appears extremely unreliable.

It is vitally important that you check the letter carefully and ensure you understand it fully before signing and returning it. If you return the letter confirming an incorrect set of terms and conditions this could make it much harder for you to claim correct payments in future. If in doubt, please consult your UNITE rep.

Posted by IMH at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

National Organising Campaign

UNITE’s national organising campaign across Fujitsu continues to bear fruit, with more staff joining the union and getting involved, right across the country. Tony Hamill is the latest addition to our list of reps and contacts in Belfast.

One of the sites making most rapid progress is WAR08. Over 60 employees signed a collective grievance over shift pay (not sick pay as suggested by a typo in an earlier newsletter). Several union meetings have been held on site. Kevin Isaacs was allowed paid leave to undertake his reps “stage 1” training, despite not yet being covered by union recognition. Two new reps (John Edwards and George Latimer) have joined the growing list of reps.

Posted by IMH at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Manchester Members Voting on Company Offer

On 16th August Fujitsu Services made a formal offer to settle the long-running Manchester dispute. A members’ meeting (EGM) on 23rd August decided unanimously to endorse the recommendation from the Reps to accept the offer.

You can read the offer itself on CafeVIK or on OurUnion (both protected with the password “proposalonly” to prevent the documents being mistaken for live agreements.

You can read a leaflet summarising the offer and two leaflets campaigning for a YES vote on the “Amicus The Union” CafeVIK community (copies are also on www.ourunion.org.uk/news).

In line with the decision of the members’ meeting, an email ballot on the offer began on Tuesday 28th August. The last day of voting will be Monday 10th September. Members affected (which includes all who are contractually based at Central Park and some at HOM99) are reminded to vote as soon as possible if you have not already done so.

Don’t forget that there are meetings to discuss the offer on Tuesday 4th September in MAN35 G CR2: 10:30-11am and 12-12:30pm. These are open to members and non-members.

Posted by IMH at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Spot The Difference? (Fujitsu Manchester newsletter)

To see an electronic copy of our latest paper one-per-desk leaflet on CafeVik, click here (a local version is here).

Posted by IMH at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)