October 31, 2007

Fujitsu Manchester newsletter (Offshoring, Overtime, etc.)

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 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2007

Greater Manchester IT Branch meeting this Thursday

The next meeting of our branch is:

6pm-7:30pm, Thursday 1st November (not the 8th)
Upstairs, Hare & Hounds pub, Shudehill, Manchester city centre, M4 4AA
[Near the Shudehill Metrolink station and the spiral ramp to the Arndale car park]

The meeting will consider who to nominate for the forthcoming elections to the UNITE National Executive Council. More information on these elections is on the union’s national web site.

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.

Posted by IMH at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Out Of Hours advice

UNITE reps across the country have been deluged with queries as the company sends out 5500 individual letters to employees who have been paid for working overtime, shifts or standby in the last year or so.

UNITE welcomes the initiative to check the data held on the HR database with employees, as it appears that a huge proportion of it is wildly inaccurate.

However, the process isn't going well, and employees should also be aware of significant risks if they respond incorrectly.

If you confirm data that isn't correct, the company could use it as evidence to reduce your future entitlements. It is VITAL that you check the information carefully before returning the form - better to return nothing than return something wrong that could be used against you. Best of all to return something right. If in doubt, members can check with their reps.

One particular point to watch out for is that the company have put "No Eligibility" in many of the boxes if people haven't recently been paid for a particular form of "out of hours" working. Many employees are misinterpreting this to mean "not eligible because I don't work this at the moment". It actually means "not eligible for payment even if I work this in future" - quite a difference! Unless you have something in your contract specifically saying you are NOT entitled to payment, we would advise against accepting "No Eligibility" in any of the boxes.

Posted by IA at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2007

UK Consultative Forum elections

The company has opened nominations for its UK Consultative Forum (UKCF). UNITE has been working with other unions to ensure there are a set of good candidates we can all support.

The latest information is on our web site at:


We’re still looking for members interested in standing from:

  • London, South & East (includes Stevenage and Footscray)
  • Thames Valley & South West (includes Bracknell, Bristol, Basingstoke, Slough, Staines and Winnersh)

If you’re interested, please get in touch as quickly as possible, so you can work with the other candidates and the unions can support you.

Posted by IMH at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

Out Of Hours

The Company sent an announcement about “Out of Hours Payment (overtime, shift and standby)” to Core Services employees on 4th October, despite strong protests from UNITE, PCS and UKCF reps that it was wrong to keep staff in the Business Units in the dark about the process.

The letter has (rightly) raised a lot of questions, as it makes clear that the aim is “modified terms and conditions for all existing employees” as well as for new joiners.

This will affect you whether you currently work overtime / shifts / standby or not.

Meanwhile the UKCF reps on the Out Of Hours subgroup have finally been allowed to publish their report to the May UKCF meeting (along with a short July report) – you can find these on CafeVIK.

Reps are becoming increasingly concerned about the process. The company’s decision to impose (without consultation) outrageous new “guidelines” on people who moved into IS did little to help. The fact that the company hasn’t dared bring them in for people covered by collective bargaining reinforces the message that employees across the company need to get organised to stand up for their rights.

As a next step, the company intends to write individual letters to employees who they think they’ve paid for working overtime, shift or standby in the last year or so.

This letter will state which Terms & Conditions the company believes you are currently entitled to. The reps on the subgroup believe that the company’s information is wildly inaccurate in many cases.

It is vitally important that you check and correct the information on the letter. If you sign and return it with incorrect information, you could be giving the company evidence to worsen your contractual entitlements.

If in doubt, please contact your rep. Reps themselves may need to consult the reps involved in the subgroup for guidance, as this is a complex area.

The IS guidelines and the company’s bulldozing approach will only increase fears that this “harmonisation” is little more than another cost-cutting exercise at employees’ expense. Staff will only be able to have a real influence on the process if they know what’s going on and can organise collectively around the issues.

UNITE and PCS have agreed a joint leaflet on the issue, so that we can alert employees to what’s going on whether they are members or not. If you want to protect terms and conditions at your site, why not contact our Senior Organiser, Sarah Holden, on 07919 307 433 to discuss getting it distributed where you work.

Don’t forget our “Out Of Hours” survey which is open to all employees to complete. See: www.ourunion.org.uk/ooh

Posted by IMH at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Your Redundancy Rights

The company have made an announcement of national significance following the settlement of the Manchester dispute.

On 1st October they announced that the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) applies IN FULL to ALL Fujitsu Services employees who meet one or more of the following criteria:

a) Where the individual is entitled to the SEA through a TUPE arrangement or a specific clause in their contract;
b) Where the individual joined ICL prior to the 1st January 2000 and is not covered by redundancy terms under a TUPE transfer or a specific entitlement in their contract;
c) Where the individual joined ICL through a TUPE transfer, and harmonised their employment terms to those offered by ICL before the 1st January 2000, and is not covered by specific redundancy entitlements in their contract.

Wondering why you missed the announcement? Because the company only sent it out in Manchester, where it hardly affects anyone!

UNITE has published a copy of the full announcement on the “Amicus The Union” CafeVIK community.

This is an important gain which would not have been possible without the settlement in Manchester. This in turn would have been almost impossible without the support shown to our Manchester colleagues by members across the country during their dispute.

However, the announcement falls well short of rolling out all the gains in Manchester to employees across the UK. To achieve that, employees will have to press for it.

As a first step, UNITE has prepared a model letter below. If you meet the SEA criteria set out by the company and are outside the scope of the Manchester agreements, you can adapt and send it to HRdirect:

To: hrdirect@uk.fujitsu.com

I have seen a copy of the Communicating notice sent by Larry Upton to Manchester staff on 1st October 2007, headed “Clarification of queries on redundancy terms”.

1) I wish to complain that I have not been sent a copy. Section 3.10 of the new Manchester Recognition Agreement says “Employees who are in the Excluded Group will be treated in the same way as those outside the scope of the Recognition Agreement”, yet this notice was sent to them and not to me.

2) I would like the company to confirm whether I am contractually entitled to have the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) applied to me in full, should relevant circumstances arise.

I look forward to your response.

Yours etc

UNITE will be following this up with more advice in future newsletters, including advice for people who don’t meet these SEA criteria.

Posted by IMH at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Pass It On

If you know a few Fujitsu friends or colleagues who aren’t in the union yet but you think might be interested, why not pass this email on to them?

If you’re one of those friends or colleagues, and are interested in finding out more about UNITE in Fujitsu, you can leave your details here:


Posted by IMH at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)


This year saw improvements in the company policy on carrying over Annual Leave, after representations from unions and the UKCF. However, the company is not allowing you to carry over any extra leave you have bought through “Your Choices”, so please make sure you use that up first.

UNITE members can get cheap access to the “European Computer Driving Licence” (ECDL) training courses. Until mid-December you can take these for just £15 for the full set of seven courses (a little over £2 per course). It would take about 40 hours study:

· Concepts of Information Technology (IT) 3.0 hour(s)
· Using the Computer and Managing Files 5.0 hour(s)
· Word Processing 6.0 hour(s)
· Spreadsheets 9.0 hour(s)
· Database 5.0 hour(s)
· Presentation 6.0 hour(s)
· Information and Communication 6.0 hour(s)

For more details see www.reachtms.co.uk/courses/series/e4xpdlsou.htm. To book, please contact our Union Learning Reps.

We’re pleased to welcome Steve Gee as a new UNITE contact in WAK01. Local reps and contacts for the country are listed in the footer of this notice.

Building up our network of contacts and trained reps is vital to developing our organisation across Fujitsu. Individual representation is one of the key benefits of union membership in areas where we don’t yet have union recognition – this is delivered by trained reps or full time officers.

We often can’t report the successes achieved on behalf of members. One member has kindly allowed us to report this example:

After securing a new job and verbally agreeing the salary etc, I informed my previous manager that I would be moving, only to be told that HR had blocked the transfer. Despite asking around, I was unable to get any justification or explanation.

I contacted my Union Rep, Jackie Cook, who was fantastic. She knew exactly how to handle the situation, was very supportive and helped me to write various information requests.

I then received a written offer for the position, but the salary etc were worse than originally agreed. On Jackie's advice I lodged a formal grievance.

Jackie represented me at the stage 1 grievance meeting, where the situation was sorted out. The company will honour the package originally agreed.

Without Jackie’s help I would probably have just accepted that I could do nothing about my transfer being blocked.

Fancy getting more involved, whether as a rep, contact or in some other way? Get in touch.

Posted by IMH at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)


Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity at work, yet all too often this isn’t the case.

If you feel you are being bullied or witness a colleague being bullied, don’t suffer in silence. A good first step is to contact your rep for confidential advice. There are lots of useful materials on our web site. The company’s “Harassment” policy is worth a look, even though improvements promised years ago have still not been implemented. The TUC has produced guidance for safety representatives dealing with bullying.

Our sector of UNITE (Electrical Engineering, Electronics & IT) is conducting a survey on bullying across a number of employers. Please fill it in:


Posted by IMH at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)


Predictably, employers have not been satisfied with the first rounds of attacks on our pensions, when many companies closed “defined benefit” or “final salary” pension schemes to new entrants, reduced benefits and/or increased employee contributions.

A new round of attacks is emerging, and employers in the IT industry, with its relatively low levels of union organisation, are among those leading the pack.

AtosOrigin, Unisys, Capgemini and Siemens are amongst those who have already announced their intention to close their defined benefit schemes to existing members. Once a scheme is closed, the possibility of reopening them to new members becomes almost inconceivable.

Given the sums of money involved, it is unlikely that anything other than the threat or reality of industrial action would persuade an employer to change its mind.

UNITE members in Siemens have voted by over 80% in a consultative ballot that they are prepared to take industrial action to defend their pensions and they are now preparing a legal ballot.

The eyes of all employers in the sector will be on the outcome, so we should do everything in our power to ensure a successful outcome for our colleagues in Siemens.

Meanwhile Fujitsu is filling a vacancy on the “ICL Pension Members Committee” or IPMC for “Area 9”. This covers parts of the North West including Crewe and Warrington. Only members of the ICL Defined Benefit pension scheme are eligible to stand, and those in Area 9 should have received a notice requesting nominations on 27th September. If you’ve already put your nomination in, or are thinking of standing, please get in touch.

The TUC has made a short “Introduction to Pensions” course available online.

Posted by IMH at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2007


Reinstate Karen Reissmann

The campaign for the reinstatement of Karen Reissmann, the local nurse and UNISON rep suspended (for almost four months now) for speaking out for the NHS and the members she represents continues.

The health trust has now announced it will be holding a disciplinary hearing on Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Monday 22nd October. We understand that UNISON members are likely to be striking again for those three days and plan a lobby of the hearing on the 18th where they would welcome as much support as possible:

8am, Thursday 18th October
Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9YN

They are also appealing for more financial support – they need to raise a lot of money to support 700 members who will have taken 11 days strike action. Cheques payable to “Manchester Community UNISON” can be sent to Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch, c/o union office, Chorlton House, 70 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9UN.

For more information, see www.reinstate-karen.org.

Branch meeting

The next meeting of Greater Manchester IT Branch is:

6pm-7:30pm, Thursday 1st November
Upstairs, Hare & Hounds pub, Shudehill, Manchester city centre, M4 4AA
[Near the spiral ramp to the Arndale car park and the Shudehill Metrolink station]

As well as normal business, discussion of workplace issues etc, the meeting will consider nominations for the new UNITE Executive Council.

All branch members are encouraged to attend.

World Against War

The Stop the War Coalition is organising an international conference in London on 1st December. With British troops still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, implications for public spending and our civil liberties, fears about terrorism, Iran and instability across the Middle East, war continues to be an important issue. Our branch has decided to send a delegation. If you would like to take part, please get in touch as soon as possible.

More information is available online.

Trade Union Conference on Climate Change

The Campaign Against Climate Change is organising a conference for trade unionists to discuss the issue, which will be held on 9th February 2008 in London. Our branch has decided to send a delegation. If you would like to take part, please get in touch as soon as possible.

More information from www.gmacc.org.uk.

Posted by IMH at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Manchester Elections

It’s important that we have the strongest and broadest team of Reps, Health & Safety Reps and Union Learning Reps possible. Even if you don’t see yourself taking on one of these roles, you should think about who you would want representing you.

The following members have already confirmed that they are willing to stand as Union Learning Reps:

  • Myfanwy Edwards (MAN34)
  • Rama Reddy Nallamilli (MAN33)
  • Sajana Patel (MAN33)

Zahid Ramzan, one of our Reps and Health & Safety Reps in MAN35, is likely to be leaving Fujitsu through a TUPE in the next month or so. Thanks to Zahid for his contribution over a number of years.

Currently, our Health & Safety Reps are distributed as follows:

MAN33 Iswar Mistry Ground floor, East wing
Lynne Hodge Second floor, West wing
MAN34 Ian Allinson First floor, West wing
Kevin M Davies First floor, West wing
Phil Tepper First floor, West wing
Alan Child Second floor, West wing
Andy C Smith Second floor, West wing
David Parkinson Second floor, West wing
MAN35 Colin Robinson HOM99
Ground Floor, East wing
Dennis Morris First Floor, East wing
Zahid Ramzan Second Floor, East wing
Ideally, we should have at least one Health & Safety rep in each area.

We would welcome nominations or volunteers for Reps, Union Learning Reps and Health & Safety Reps.

If you wish to volunteer or nominate someone else, please do so by Wednesday 17th October:

1) The member making the nomination needs to send us an email saying who they are nominating and for which position(s) (i.e. Rep, Health & Safety Rep or Union Learning Rep).

2) The nominee / volunteer needs to send an email including some information:

a) Which position(s) they are standing for (i.e. Rep, Health & Safety Rep or Union Learning Rep)
b) Name
c) Work phone numbers - internal & external
d) Site and area (e.g. MAN35-2-East)
e) Department (e.g. Sirius)
f) Optionally, a statement of NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS which would encourage people to vote for you. [Previous examples are available on request]

Only UNITE members employed by Fujitsu and in the scope of the Manchester agreements are eligible to stand. (Members elsewhere can elect their own reps at their own meetings).

Reps, Health & Safety Reps and Union Learning Reps are allowed work time to carry out their duties, and full training is available.

Reps’ responsibilities are varied, including advising members, individual representation, research, communication, campaigning, recruitment, organising and negotiating. Not all reps do everything - we work as a team.

Health & Safety Reps and Union Learning Reps have distinct specialist roles which are separate from being a Rep.

If you want to know more before deciding whether to stand, contact any of our current reps.

If the numbers of nominations mean that an election is necessary, a meeting will be organised for the purpose.

Posted by IMH at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Union Learning in Manchester

Union Learning activity continues to go from strength to strength. Our most recent “One Per Desk” newsletter gave a wide-ranging update. It’s also available on CafeVIK or on OurUnion so that staff who aren’t on site can see it too.

Since we won funding for our learning project, employees have rushed to book up for the “Learning Advice for All” sessions. Further sessions are planned. They take half an hour and take place between 10am and 1pm on the following Wednesdays:

· 17th October
· 24th October
· 7th November
· 14th November
· 21st November
· 28th November
· 5th December
· 12th December

If you want to book a place (or discuss any other learning related matter), contact our Union Learning Reps.

Posted by IMH at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Manchester: Settlement Letter, Redundancy “Clarification”, Pay Letters

Employees in scope of the Manchester agreements have received two communications from the company lately – both have caused a degree of confusion.

  • You should have received a letter from HRdirect, by post to your home address, closely based on the emailed Company Announcement on 12th September.
  • Larry Upton also sent you a Company Announcement on 1st October entitled “Clarification of queries on redundancy terms”.

Settlement Letter

The paper letter includes two copies, and you are asked to sign and return one copy. Many of you have asked what this means and why it is necessary. Though the agreements apply regardless of whether individuals return the letter, it is good practice for the company to do this when changes are made to terms and conditions. It is in your interests to sign and return it, to ensure that your rights are clearly recorded by HR. Unfortunately, HRdirect included neither a return address nor a return envelope. It should be returned to HRdirect at BRA01. We strongly recommend you keep your copy of the letter in a safe place.

Announcement on Redundancy Terms

By contrast, the Company Announcement on redundancy terms seems to be a bit of mischief-making wrapped around some good news.

The good news is that the announcement says that for all Fujitsu Services employees (i.e. not just Manchester):

the SEA applies in full where one or more of the following criteria are met:

a) Where the individual is entitled to the SEA through a TUPE arrangement or a specific clause in their contract;

b) Where the individual joined ICL prior to the 1st January 2000 and is not covered by redundancy terms under a TUPE transfer or a specific entitlement in their contract;

c) Where the individual joined ICL through a TUPE transfer, and harmonised their employment terms to those offered by ICL before the 1st January 2000, and is not covered by specific redundancy entitlements in their contract.

The “SEA” refers to the “Security of Employment Agreement”, which was included as Annex 4 to the new Manchester agreements.

As we forecast when members from Manchester appealed for support from employees across the company during the dispute, the outcome has benefited employees nationally.

So what’s the catch?

Firstly, the company only sent the announcement to employees in the scope of the Manchester recognition agreement. It would only benefit a handful of people in Manchester (specifically, some of those excluded from the bargaining unit). The thousands of people who should benefit from the notice weren’t sent it!

The notice (and the timing of it being sent out just before letters arrived on doormats) appears designed to promote exclusion requests. Giving the notice to Manchester staff who are excluded and not to everyone in the country breaches the company’s promise of neutrality.

Secondly, the notice is misleading. It is trying to give people the (wrong) impression that their redundancy rights are not affected by whether they are in the bargaining unit. Let’s look at some of the differences again:

In the bargaining unit Outside the bargaining unit
SEA entitlement is clearly defined as a contractual right. Employees have rely on evidence such as the company notice to prove their contractual right. The company has a history of claiming such notices are “policies” they can change, not contractual rights.
People NOT on the SEA are entitled to (at least) the Minimum Redundancy Provisions and can get Additional Termination Payments as well. People NOT on the SEA have to rely on individual contractual entitlements and the old Minimum Redundancy Payment scheme we won in 2003.
Covered by our new Annex 1 agreement, which protects jobs and helps redeployment. Not covered.

The announcement is sloppy. It talks about the SEA applying to “all” Fujitsu Services employees who meet the criteria. Our colleagues in South Africa, Egypt, the USA or Germany will surely be fascinated by this. It talks about people “excluding themselves from the Manchester agreement” when there is no facility to do so – only to request exclusion from certain aspects of it.

It smacks of desperation.

Throughout the dispute HR claimed they were under pressure from significant numbers of employees desperate to get out of the bargaining unit. They said the “exclusion” process wasn’t about them pursuing a union-busting strategy as members feared, but about respecting individual choice. It’s almost a month since the agreements came into effect and less than 20 people (out of 1073) have requested exclusion, despite the fact that the salary threshold has been scrapped – so this includes HR and senior management.

UNITE in Manchester will continue to focus on making the new agreements work effectively for employees and the company.

Manchester Reps are also discussing with our officers, organisers and reps across the country to see how members across the country can take advantage of the announcement – and extend more of the benefits of the Manchester agreements nationally.

Pay Letters

The company has been very slow in getting the letters out to individuals confirming the pay rises from 1st October that arose from the deal. However, we understand that the changes have been uploaded onto the system and should be paid in the October pay packet. Nearly all individuals in the scope of the agreements should receive letters with one or more of the following:

  • £150 pay rise for people earning below £40,529 (pro-rata for part-timers)
  • Disturbance allowance consolidated into basic pay for people who receive one
  • Increase in pension accrual entitlement from 1/75th to 1/60th for the small number affected

If you have any queries when you receive your letter, please contact your rep promptly. Delays in raising issues can make them much harder to resolve.

Posted by IMH at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)