March 13, 2008

Branch Meeting

The next meeting of Greater Manchester IT Branch is:

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

As well as usual branch business and discussion of workplace issues, we have a guest speaker, Dale Branwen from the Anti-Academies Alliance, leading a discussion about changes to education and the proposed City Academies in Manchester.

All branch members are welcome to attend.

Posted by IMH at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

Manchester AGM Report

AGM Report

Thanks to everyone who took part in today’s UNITE Fujitsu Manchester Annual General Meeting. A summary of the key points is below.

Progress and Current Issues

Members heard and discussed reports from reps covering:

  • Implementation of last year’s deal (progress being made, but too slow and patchy. Review of implementation with ACAS planned)
  • Relationship with the company
  • The national organising campaign
  • Learning
  • Health & Safety
  • Campus update (including the consolidation into two buildings and the closure of the MAN35 canteen)
  • TUPE transfers
  • Redeployment (we have been very successful in using Annex 1 to protect jobs, but it has been very labour intensive. If you think your job is at risk please contact your rep straight away)


Reps reported on implementation of the motion passed by members at the previous EGM, which had been uneven. Some of the bigger successes included:

  • Increases to D1-4 scales
  • Increases to medians for TSS/1, TSS/2 and TSM/1 medians as a result of the agreements
  • Manchester pay guidelines including promotions being funded additionally to the pay review budget
  • Joint Fujitsu-UNITE Equal Pay Review pilot under way for CSA, DEV and TSS roles in Manchester

A national pay campaign leaflet is currently going out at various sites. The recent Manchester leaflet had been based on this. Further national leafleting is planned.

The company is promoting more 0% pay rises this year, despite inflation remaining high.

Members discussed a detailed union briefing document on the company’s 2008 pay and benefit scales. UNITE believes such information should be freely available to all employees, but the company insists it is confidential. Please do not pass on the document – if other people want a copy, please ask them to join and direct them to a UNITE Workplace Rep.

Access to Fujitsu’s pay and benefit information is currently a significant benefit of UNITE membership.


A motion about the handling of one possible situation in relation to the new recognition agreement was agreed.

Health & Safety

The following motion was agreed:

Back and upper limb disorders are one of the major health issues affecting employees. Many of these can be avoided by provision of appropriate equipment, training to correctly adjust and use it, reasonable working hours and adequate breaks.

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) risk assessments, sometimes known as workstation assessments, are a key tool in preventing back and upper limb disorders. The company is legally obliged to have DSE assessments carried out by people competent to do so. The practice of promoting "self-assessment" rather than assessment by a properly trained assessor has often meant that assessments don't happen at all. Where they do take place they are often just a "tick in the box" which is a nuisance for employees and does little to promote health. The results of self-assessment are sometimes later used to allow the company to blame the individual if they later suffer ill-health.

We welcome the decision of the union and company representatives on the Manchester Safety Committee on 6th November 2007 that "DSE assessments across the Campus would be undertaken by trained DSE assessors, rather than via self assessment".

We resolve to campaign for the company to appoint and train sufficient competent assessors and to ensure all employees benefit from a proper assessment.

Members from MAN35-2 raised concerns about their working environment, poor response from site facilities and other issues on the HMRC contract.

Climate Change

The following motion was agreed:

We note the increasing concern about the contribution of Carbon Dioxide emissions to climate change.

We welcome initiatives by government and employers to reduce energy usage but believe that more action is needed to reduce the risks from climate change, to promote energy security and to reduce costs.

We resolve to:

  1. Work with Fujitsu to reduce the company's Carbon Footprint
  2. Propose to the company an additional bonus for employees in the UNITE Manchester Bargaining Unit based on reduction in Carbon Footprint, to give employees an incentive and to share in savings achieved
  3. Propose that the company trains assessors to check power saving settings during DSE assessments
  4. Campaign for the replacement of old CRT monitors with lower-power flat screens
  5. Seek to agree with the company the use of portable power meters so that employees can learn about the energy use of different appliances and the savings being made
  6. Organise a showing of the film "An Inconvenient Truth" and other events to promote discussion and raise awareness
  7. Seek agreement with Fujitsu to recognise Union Environment Reps
  8. Campaign for the company to put more effort into moving work to the people rather than excessive travelling
  9. Campaign for the company to provide more facilities, training and promotion for phone, video and web conferencing
  10. Propose the Environmental awareness and impact becomes part of the Reputation Programme and for inclusion within Company Induction
  11. Provide an incentive to employees to reduce carbon footprints and car share on visits to other sites e.g. trips to Bracknell where people could travel individually or all in one car for the same trip / meeting. Lift sharing sometimes adds extra time or hassle to a journey, but we get no direct reward for giving up time to pick colleagues up. United Utilities provide a 5p per mile extra bonus for people car sharing on company journeys and a similar scheme would encourage Fujitsu employees to go out of their way to give lifts since there is a financial as well as environmental incentive.

There was discussion about a range of related matters, including the benefits of home-working for the environment.

Group Rules

The following new rules were agreed:

These rules operate within the context of the general rules of the union. In the event of any conflict, the rules of the union shall prevail.


The Group exists to enable its members:

1.1 To convey their feelings to Fujitsu management on matters concerning remuneration, working conditions and related topics

1.2 To promote the objects of the union

It shall provide a framework within which members can make decisions or take action.


Membership consists of all UNITE members employed by the Fujitsu group and in scope of the Manchester recognition agreement (i.e. MAN33/34/35 and some HOM99 employees).


3.1 General Meetings may be called by any Committee member. 3 days notice must be given of such a meeting.

3.2 An Annual General Meeting shall be held each year, normally in the month prior to the pay review date.

3.3 Any Group member may call an Extraordinary General Meeting to seek to replace any Committee member by obtaining the signature of 15 other members. One month's notice must be given of such a meeting.


The group members shall elect from amongst themselves:

4.1 Workplace Representatives

4.2 Health & Safety Representatives

4.3 Union Learning Representatives

4.4 Equality Representatives

4.5 Environmental Representatives

4.6 Such other representatives as required by the union rulebook or determined by the members

Elections will be held at the Annual General Meeting. In addition, elections may be held when decided by the committee or when a nomination is made to fill a vacancy. All terms of office expire at the following Annual General Meeting.

The Representatives shall form a committee to oversee the work of the group, and elect a senior representative, a deputy and such other officers as it deems necessary.


5.1 Majority decisions shall abide at all meetings.

5.2 There will be a review of the rules at each AGM and if requested, at a General Meeting. Any changes to Group Rules shall only be made at a meeting where the proposed changes have been published on the agenda.

5.3 A speaker may not take longer than five minutes to introduce any topic or motion. Other speeches shall not exceed three minutes. These limits may be extended or waived at the discretion of the chair.

Reps Elections

The following were elected:

11 Workplace Reps:

Ian Allinson, Ben Ashdown, Pauline Bradburn, Dean Burn, Jackie Cook, Dave Francis, Isabel Hay, Lynne Hodge, Andy C Smith, Phil Tepper, Michael Thomas

14 Health & Safety Reps:

Ian Allinson, Alan Child, Helen Clayson, Kevin M Davies, Lynne Hodge, Iswar Mistry, Dennis Morris, Dave Parkinson, Steve Perkins, Colin Robinson, Andy C Smith, Andrew Stavrinides, Phil Tepper, Simon Wood

6 Union Learning Reps:

Pauline Bradburn, Dean Burn, Teresa Meyer, Rama Reddy Nallamilli, Denise Roberts, Sajana Patel

3 Equality Reps:

Jackie Cook, Isabel Hay, Teresa Meyer

3 Environmental Reps:

Helen Clayson, Steve Perkins, Simon Wood

Nikki Aldridge, who has been the group chair, had decided not to stand for election this year. Many thanks to Nikki for her contribution over recent months.

Other Business

Ballot papers are coming out at the moment for the elections to UNITE’s first Executive Council, the outcome of which will have a major impact on the future direction of the union. If you haven’t received ballot papers by Wednesday 12th March you should contact the membership department on 0845 850 4242.

Members had an update on the campaign to reinstate Karen Reissmann, the local nurse and UNISON rep who had been sacked for speaking out in defence of the NHS. Some of the cuts UNISON were fighting against had now been reversed, and the campaign continues. Karen’s tribunal is likely to be late this year. A collection raised £145.15 to help provide financial support for Karen.

Posted by IMH at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2008

Manchester Annual General Meeting

Don’t forget Thursday’s AGM:

1:30-3:30pm, Thursday 6th March 2008
MAN35, Ground Floor, West Wing

Please note the new venue

Members will discuss reports from your reps, take key decisions and elect reps for the coming year. Members are entitled to attend in work time. Please do your utmost to attend and encourage colleagues to come too.

If your manager might need to arrange cover for you while you’re at the meeting, please ask them for release straight away. If you have any difficulty getting release, please contact your reps in good time, so they can help you sort it out.


Our newsletter on 20th February asked for nominations for the various types of reps. To save paper your reps have decided to circulate the full details of the nominations by email beforehand, rather than printing them out.

More nominations are still welcome.

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

World Book Day

Thursday 6th March is World Book Day and our Union Learning Reps will be offering quick read books, launching the union library etc in the MAN34 canteen between 10:30am and 1pm. Come along and find out what’s going on.

You can read more about what UNITE is doing to promote learning at Fujitsu Manchester in our latest learning newsletter.

Posted by IMH at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2008

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 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Salary Swap

Confusion still reigns about the company's new "Salary Swap" scheme - not helped by the puzzling entries that have appeared on many pay slips this month.

HR say they see the introduction as a great success, because only about 10% of people navigated the incomprehensible processes and opted-out. In the real world many employees (whether they opted out or not) are deeply unhappy about aspects of the scheme and its rushed and poorly communicated introduction. Employee representatives from UNITE, PCS and the UKCF have been united in raising these concerns. There's no doubt that the enormous volume of queries and complaints from employees have helped persuade the company to set up a review of the scheme prior to the summer election period.

Our Manchester group sent the following letter to the company recently:

From: Allinson Ian
Sent: 26 February 2008 10:28
To: Dalley Alison
Cc: Upton Larry; PCS reps, UKCF reps

Subject: UNITE: Salary Swap & Your Choices

I'm writing on behalf of the UNITE group in Manchester in relation to the changes this year to Your Choices and Salary Swap.

As you know, UNITE is not opposed to Salary Sacrifice (or Salary Swap) schemes in principle, but we do believe that care is required in relation to the specifics of such schemes. We made clear from the outset that we wanted to be in a position to endorse the proposed scheme and help allay any employee concerns.

We had given you detailed feedback on the information provided to us about the proposed scheme, but only became aware of some of the concerns as implementation got underway in January. When we raised concerns with you, you explained that it was "too late to make any changes at this point" so reps were left with no alternative but to advise employees on the basis of the information available about the scheme as it was.

The first phase of implementation is now over, and we understand that the company is holding a review, which we welcome.

We believe that implementation could have been much smoother and employees much happier with the outcome if it had been less rushed, there had been more consultation and better communication. Many employees feel confused and worried, irrespective of whether they chose to opt out of the pension and/or non-pension aspects of Salary Swap.

We would like to work with you (and maybe other employee representatives such as UKCF and PCS) to ensure that the concerns are addressed prior to the summer election period. I have copied some of the key people from UKCF and PCS on this note so that they can consider this approach.

We think the main areas are:

  • Impact on flexibility of AVC contributions etc, including when leaving the company
  • Changes to pension rules
  • Wording of "declaration" when altering choices
  • Withdrawal of all Your Choices unless you join Salary Swap
  • Withdrawal of facility to decline unwanted medical benefit unless you join Salary Swap
  • What happens if scheme changes in the future
  • Communication plan before summer election period
  • Provision of Independent Financial Advice

Please let us know how you would like to proceed with this so that we can make the scheme an unqualified success.

Ian Allinson
UNITE senior rep, Fujitsu Manchester

A number have members who had previously declined medical benefit to which they were contractually entitled have been in touch.

The company have unilaterally withdrawn the facility to decline medical benefit unless the individual agrees to join Salary Swap. This means the company insisting on handing over its money to private medical providers to pay for a service the employee doesn’t want. Not only is this costing Fujitsu money for nothing, but the company is then deducting tax from the employee on the unwanted benefit.

If Fujitsu wants to give away its money, wouldn’t it be better to give it to the NHS than private medical providers? That might do the company more favours when bidding for NHS work.

Fujitsu makes a big play about giving employees choice, yet they are removing choice from people who have moral or financial reasons to decline private medical cover.

It is possible that the unilateral removal of the facility from employees is a breach of contract. As an example, someone on about £30K per year declining single medical cover is losing about £10 per month.

Members affected by this should contact UNITE for an example grievance letter which they can adapt and submit. Please make sure you do adapt it before submitting it – your UNITE Rep can help you with this.

Posted by IMH at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)