June 30, 2009

Don’t Dismiss Malcolm

As reported in the Manchester email notice on 24th June, your reps are very concerned that the company intends to dismiss or give notice of dismissal to Malcolm ------ on Friday (3rd July).

Not only would any dismissal be grossly unfair and bad news for Malcolm personally, it would set a very dangerous precedent because it would represent serious breaches of the Manchester agreements.

Specifically, this would breach:


Recognition Agreement, section 9.5:

m) Employees have the right to a hearing at each stage of the process.

Recognition Agreement, section 9.6:

The Company and the Union agree to refrain from taking any other action in relation to the contested issues until the individual grievance procedure outlined in this section of this Recognition Agreement has been exhausted (unless the action is required by law or has to be taken before the procedure is exhausted to avoid missing a legal deadline). In other words, the pre-existing circumstances will continue to apply.

Annex 1, section 7:

ii) Unless mutually agreed, an Employee will not be redeployed, issued with notice of dismissal, or dismissed by reason of redundancy, until their individual appeals or grievances in relation to the redeployment or redundancy processes have been fully heard.

If the company went ahead with a dismissal, it would be breaching the agreements because they have refused Malcolm a hearing at the second stage of his grievance and would be dismissing him without fully hearing his grievance first.

UNITE is asking employees to protest in their lunch-breaks at the start of the meeting where Malcolm is likely to be dismissed. Please assemble:

12:50pm, Friday 3rd July, MAN34 canteen

The protest will then move to 34GM1 in the West wing, where the meeting is due to take place.

This approach proved extremely successful when the company tried to discipline Ian Allinson during our dispute in 2006-7, so please come along and give Malcolm your support – it’s what you would need if you were in his position.

Posted by IMH at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

Manchester: EGM

This is advance notice that there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) for all UNITE members in the Manchester bargaining unit:

Friday 10th July
Time and venue are to be confirmed.

The meeting will discuss the latest developments on pay and pensions, as well as how to respond to the breaches of our agreements if the company goes ahead with dismissing Malcolm. Please do your utmost to attend.

All members are entitled to attend in work time, but if your manager might need to arrange cover, you should ask them as early as possible to confirm your release. If you experience any difficulties with release, please contact your rep in good time. Leaving it to the last minute will make it impossible for your reps to help you.

Posted by IMH at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2009

Crewe UNITE Meeting on Pay and Pensions

There has been anger around the continuing erosion of pay and benefits and most recently outcry about the proposed closure of the ICL Defined Benefit Pension Scheme to accrual. In response to this, the UNITE reps for the Crewe area have called a local meeting for members to discuss pay and pensions and outline the national campaign strategy. This message has been sent to members in the Crewe area. Please encourage all to attend, including interested non-members.

We will be joined by Sarah Holden, the local Unite organiser who works around Fujitsu.

Date - Wednesday 1st July

Time - 12.30pm for 1 hour, prompt start

Location - The Duke of Gloucester pub, near CRE02 site (this may be subject to change)

The Duke of Gloucester is a short walk from the CRE02 site. It is adjacent to the A5020 University Way, close to the roundabout at Crewe Green where that road meets the A534 Crewe Road.

Read on For Agenda ...

Agenda

* Introductions
* Election of Local Reps
* Pay and Pensions
Briefing on the issues
Questions and answers
* The National "Combine"
Briefing on the structure
Questions and answers
* The Consultative Ballot
Briefing on the process
Questions and answers
* Motion 1 (see motions below)
* AOB
* Summary and Close

Election of Local Reps - Roles

We are seeking members to stand for positions as reps. All will be open to election. Non-members cannot vote in the election. Please send your nominations to Alan Jenney by noon, 30th June if you wish stand. Reps roles can be varied, including dealing with individual issues, campaigning, arranging members' meetings, writing notices and checking membership records.

Motions

Motion 1:

"We instruct our reps for the Crewe area to act on members' anger at the threatened close of accrual to the ICL Defined Benefit Scheme and continued erosion of pay and benefits - liasing with the national Combine to organise members' local activities for the Pay and Pensions campaign."

Further motions can be added, and for AOB, please advise Alan Jenney by noon, 30th June. Non-members cannot vote on motions.

Current Reps

This meeting has been arranged by your current reps, who are:

Robert "Wilf" Williams (trained)
Bob Anderson
Alan Jenney
Stephen Ryan
Adrian Prince

Red "UNITE for fair pay in Fujitsu" lanyards are available - contact one of the existing reps or pick some up at the meeting to pass round your colleagues.

Posted by at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2009

Manchester: Redeployment, Redundancy & TUPE Update

In line with the motion agreed by members at the EGM on 4th December, your reps are keeping you informed about jobs at risk in the bargaining unit.

Overall, the situation is good (see below), but there is currently a very serious situation involving Malcolm ------. In accordance with the motion, your reps want your views on what action we should take to protect him. Your reps are concerned that the situation could develop very quickly, so please be ready to support Malcolm at short notice if that proves necessary.

Malcolm

Malcolm has been manoeuvred out of his job, dismissed and reinstated. The company has withheld his sales commission.

The company appears to be using Malcolm as a pawn in a sick game. Reps smelt a rat when the company suddenly decided to sack Malcolm just when reps were at their busiest with pay negotiations. After months of delay, the same thing seems to be happening again now.

This is no way to treat any employee, and it was almost inevitable that it would cause serious anxiety and stress.

The timeline tells the saga of delay and mismanagement:

  1. April 2008: told his sales job was redundant, despite the sales plan showing over £35m of opportunities.
  2. May 2008: another employee is given Malcolm’s job. This is fundamentally wrong in a redundancy situation.
  3. June 2008: Company starts “Redeployment Warning Period”, tried to move him into Linkwise, pressure him into accepting a Compromise Agreement, threatened to withhold sales commission earned the previous year.
  4. Asked to apply for a job which was unsuitable, with no details of the terms and conditions, and told (wrongly) he had to choose between a Compromise Agreement or the unsuitable job.
  5. October 2008: Moved to Linkwise
  6. December 2008: Given one month’s notice of redundancy. Submitted grievance.
  7. January 2009: Letter notifying Malcolm of redundancy, giving the wrong redundancy payment and saying he had 5 days to appeal. Malcolm appealed and pointed out that the company hadn’t heard his grievance and must hear it before dismissal (thanks to our agreements). This was acknowledged and a response promised.
  8. The redundancy payment was made to Malcolm’s bank account and all the Fujitsu systems other than email started closing down.
  9. Dismissed.
  10. UNITE Regional Officer intervened and Malcolm was re-instated by a letter from Linkwise which also said that his salary would be paid in the normal way.
  11. After discussions, it was agreed that while we tried to agree a solution Malcolm would not repay the redundancy money, but salary would be funded from the PILON he had received. If he was eventually made redundant then the PILON would be made back up – confirmed in writing.
  12. Subsequent payslips are incorrect. Explanation is that “that was the easiest way for Fujitsu to do it”, even though it made it hard to work out what Fujitsu would owe Malcolm if he did get made redundant.
  13. February 2009: Finally sent an invitation to a grievance hearing, which then took place in early March, though no line management attended.
  14. March 2009: Sales commission was due, but not paid. This is still unpaid.
  15. May 2009: Malcolm finally gets a response to his stage 1 grievance, which says he has 10 days to appeal to stage 2. It was clear that the company had not interviewed any of the members of the team or business unit who supported him. Malcolm follows the procedure and lodges his appeal.
  16. June 2009: Company say they don’t see the point in having a stage 2 hearing, so he will hear from his Linkwise manager. Telephone call from Linkwise (later followed by email and letter) invites Malcolm to a meeting to discuss his “current employment situation”. The company won’t confirm precisely what the meeting is for, but refuse to confirm that it won’t result in him being dismissed or given notice of dismissal. This meeting is expected to take place on Friday 3rd July.

The current possible dismissal is just the latest twist in the company’s scandalous treatment of Malcolm. If the company went ahead with dismissing him without hearing his grievance, this would be a clear and serious breach of our Recognition Agreement and Annex 1.

Since we reached these agreements with the company, UNITE has been scrupulous in keeping our end of the bargain. UNITE reps and officers have made clear to the company that the union would treat it very seriously indeed if the company went ahead with dismissing a member in breach of our agreements.

It would be in the interests of the company to resolve Malcolm’s case through discussions. If not, we all need to be ready to respond appropriately.

General situation

During 2009, the company has put 21 staff in the bargaining unit “at risk” in one way or another. Most of these were not at risk of dismissal, but the company either intended to get rid of their job and redeploy them or to TUPE their job to another company.

Of the 21, 14 people kept their original jobs, three were redeployed, one was made redundant (he was happy with this). Three of the 21 jobs currently remain at risk, including Malcolm’s case where he is at risk of redundancy dismissal.

Overall this is a very good track record. Our Annex 1 agreement continues to help ensure staff in the bargaining unit have improved job security.

Posted by IMH at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

Fujitsu Pay & Pensions campaign update

23 UNITE reps from across the UK spent last weekend in Manchester taking part in training and planning the pay and pensions campaign. This newsletter is a report from that event, so it includes important information about the campaign.

Our first guest speaker was Mark Lyon, the UNITE convenor from Ineos Grangemouth. Ineos had proposed an attack on their defined benefit pension scheme a little over a year ago. Reps and members at Ineos felt that employers were coming forward with outrageous proposals, and that there was a danger in simply defending what they had, as this was likely to lead to a result which involved all the concessions being from employees. To prevent this happening, they decide to respond to the company proposals by asking for improvements in pension provision. Though in the course of the dispute there was give and take on both sides, the end result had been better pensions, not worse. Mark explained that this had also had the benefit of discouraging the company from coming forward with attacks in the future.

Mark explained that he had reported on the situation at Fujitsu to the Grangemouth reps, who pledged their unconditional support for our campaign. Mark provided lots of ideas and materials for us to use or adapt for Fujitsu.

Mark’s contribution, as well as being inspiring, led to a discussion to clarify the aims of our “pay and pensions” campaign.

The following campaign aims were agreed:
Pay:
1. A fairer pay system
2. More money for employees
Pensions:
3. Defend the ICL DB pension scheme
4. Improve pension provision for those with something worse

This was seen as important in promoting unity between the 4000 in the ICL DB scheme who fear being put in the Fujitsu UK Defined Contribution (DC) scheme and those who are already there.

The pay and pensions issues have been the last straw for many employees, coming on top of many other issues. We will continue to use the slogan “Enough Is Enough” to reflect this mood.

Len McCluskey, UNITE Assistant General Secretary, pledged support for our campaign from himself, the Joint General Secretaries and UNITE’s Executive Council. He said he would be reporting back to the Joint General Secretaries on the situation and our discussion. Len dealt with a number of questions about how we could make the most effective use of the UNITE structures.

Reps were positive about winning the campaign, but clear that this would depend on the involvement of large numbers of people, getting better organised and communicating effectively.

A number of specific points were agreed:

  • UNITE will no longer normally send the Manchester email newsletters to members across the country, though they will be copied to reps for information. These will be more focussed on local issues so members elsewhere won’t miss out on key announcements and news. They will continue to be archived along with national emails on www.ourunion.org.uk/news.
  • We need more local and regional newsletters for other parts of the country.
  • We need members to help distribute the new national leaflet out at as many sites as possible. Please respond to this email to request copies for your site. The national protocol agreement with the company means members won’t get into trouble for doing this.
  • We need more reps and contacts at every location around the country. If you’re interested in volunteering, please get in touch.
  • Reps and contacts within each region should work more closely together and support each other.
  • We need to hold members meetings at as many locations as possible, to discuss reports on the campaign, decide on future activities and elect reps. If you want a meeting where you are, please get in touch.
  • We need candidates to come forward for the new “combine committee” so that we can coordinate the campaign across the UK. Details of constituencies and how to stand are in the email notice of Friday 19th June. Don’t forget that the deadline for candidates to come forward is Friday 3rd July.

UNITE membership in Fujitsu has gone up about 10% in recent weeks. Thanks to all the members who have encouraged colleagues to join. This work needs to continue – as Len McCluskey put it “Would Fujitsu have done this if we had 12,000 members?”

Reps discussed the legal process required for an industrial action ballot. The anti-union laws give employers many opportunities for employers to seek injunctions to thwart the clear will of union members. Reps in Fujitsu are taking steps to minimise the risks of legal challenge to our ballot. Thanks to the 900+ members who have already replied to the membership check emails. The delays and undemocratic influence of the legal system lead some groups of workers (such as those at Lindsey Oil Refinery) to feel it is pointless to try to comply with the law. We want to avoid getting into this situation, so if you haven’t yet replied to the membership check email (sent out late on 3rd June), please do so as soon as you can.

A collection for the construction workers raised £200.

Many other ideas and plans were discussed during the weekend, but your reps hope this update gives you a flavour of the progress we are making towards winning our campaign.

Posted by IMH at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2009

Unite National Fujitsu Newsletter (Defend Pay & Pensions)

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

A Manchester version of the newsletter is available here locally or here on CafeVik.

Posted by IMH at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2009

“UNITE agreed it” warning

There have been several instances recently where managers or HR have incorrectly told employees that something (bad!) has been agreed with UNITE or that UNITE was consulted over it.

If you’re told it was agreed, why not ask for a copy of the relevant agreement so you can read it for yourself? If you’re told there was no written agreement, why not ask which officer(s) or rep(s) were consulted or agreed to this, so you can check with them?

Posted by IMH at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Interested Colleagues

While a lot of people are joining UNITE at the moment, we are still only scratching the surface, given the mood among employees over pay and pensions.

If you know of a colleague who you think would be interested in more information about what UNITE is doing, please email your reps with their email address and any other relevant details.

Of course, this is no substitute for you speaking to them yourself – the most effective form of communication!

Posted by IMH at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Bosses’ Pay

There’s an interesting report from Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor, showing that in 2008, while the recession meant hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs, median remuneration for a FTSE 100 chief executive rose 7% to £2.6m.

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

CEO on Tour

Roger Gilbert, our new Chief Executive, is doing a “CEO Exchange” tour of the country. The company says it expects employee feedback (for example on pensions) at these sessions. The dates already announced are:

Date

Venue

5 May 2009

IRE23

18 June 2009

BRA01

2 July 2009

STE04

9 July 2009

MAN35

22 July 2009

SOL10

29 July 2009

SLH06

You can book places via the “Events” facility on CafeVIK. Note that not all the events are yet open and some are already booked up.

Posted by IMH at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

Disability and “Reasonable Adjustments”, Maternity

Many more people can benefit from the protection of the “Disability Discrimination Act” (DDA) than realise it. The DDA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on her/his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

Long-term” means an effect that has lasted or is likely to last more than a year. “Impairment” is considered as if you were not using any medication or other treatment, so you may be covered by the DDA even if your condition is so well managed that it is not currently having any impact on your day-to-day activities.

Disability is an issue that will affect nearly all of us, if we live long enough. For more information, see the UNITE web site.

If you believe you are disabled, it is important that you record this as part of your details on Self Service. If you have not told officially the company that you are disabled (even if your manager knows), it could be harder to complain about discrimination.

Due to a recent ruling in the courts (UKHL 43) it is more important than ever that employees with disabilities covered by the DDA request the “reasonable adjustments” that they require from their employer. It will now be much more difficult to win a case for disability discrimination if you have not done this.

“Reasonable adjustments” could range from changes to the physical organisation of your work, additional equipment, modified work procedures, hours, working practices, application of company policies and procedures etc.

ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, recommends that disability-related and pregnancy-related sickness/absence is recorded separately from other sick leave. Unfortunately Fujitsu does not do this as a matter of course, which is particularly worrying given the recent punitive changes to the attendance policies. In light of the above ruling, your reps recommend that if you have a disability as defined by the DDA, or are pregnant, that you write to your manager requesting:

“I am writing to request a reasonable adjustment that all disability-related/pregnancy-related absence [delete as applicable] is recorded separately, and is not included in calculations for the purposes of utilisation, appraisal, bonus, redundancy selection, attendance management or any other purpose which might lead me to suffer detriment as a result of my disability / pregnancy [delete as applicable]. On the same basis I am requesting that I am allowed paid time off during working hours to attend medical appointments or undertake treatment as required.”

It’s important that you get to any response to these requests in writing and keep the response somewhere safe.

If you require further guidance, please contact your UNITE rep, or our UNITE Equality Reps in Manchester.

Posted by IMH at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

National “Combine” Structure

The proposal for a new national structure for UNITE in Fujitsu across the UK was approved by members. The vote was 452 to 6. Thanks to everyone who took the time to cast their vote. The proposal is reproduced below. This “combine committee” structure is essential to ensure we can run our pay and pensions campaign democratically and effectively.

As well as the votes, there was some useful feedback. In particular, it was pointed out that given that the role of the committee members includes maximising members’ involvement in decision-making, the “combine-7” committee is too small to take potentially contentious decisions except in an emergency.

The next step is to elect the members of the “combine-21” committee who will represent you.

It’s really important that every area of the country is properly represented, so please take a look at what is involved (see the proposal below) and consider standing yourself or encourage a colleague to stand.

To stand, please contact us, including:

  • Your name
  • Your contact details (email, phone, mobile)
  • Which constituency you are standing for
  • An election statement of up to 100 words
Nominations must be received by Friday 3rd July.


Proposal for national structure for UNITE Fujitsu UK

The campaign over pay and pensions requires a UK-wide UNITE structure to enable timely, representative and democratic decision-making, involving members as fully as possible.

Given the large number of Fujitsu sites and HOM99 staff, representation must be regionally-based, rather than built upon the workplace rep/contact structure.

If this proposal is approved by members, UNITE will run a ballot for members to elect a “combine committee” (this name is widely used in other companies). The ballot will be run by email, with a paper alternative where UNITE does not hold an email address.

The constituencies and numbers of seats set out in the table below are roughly proportional to membership. The regions definitions are largely based on the UKCF constituencies.

Constituency

combine-21 committee seats

combine-7 committee seats

London, South & East

3

1

Midlands

2 (1 SOL10, 1 any)

1

Yorkshire & North East

1

Manchester bargaining unit (these people are not included in other regional constituencies)

6 (2 MAN33, 2 MAN34, 1 MAN35, 1 HOM99)

2

North-West

3 (1 CRE, 1 WAR, 1 any)

1

Northern Ireland

1

1

Scotland

1

Wales

1

Thames Valley and South West

3 (1 HOM99, 1 BRA, 1 any)

1

All members would be invited to stand for election for their constituency. The candidates with the highest number of votes would be elected to the “combine-21” committee.

Members on the combine-21 committee who are elected from a particular constituency or group of constituencies would agree amongst themselves who would be their representative(s) on the combine-7 committee, who would act as deputies etc. If the committee members in a constituency or group of constituencies are unable to agree this by majority vote, the decision will be put back to a vote of members.

The smaller combine-7 committee could deal with more urgent decisions, while the larger combine-21 committee could deal with those that required broader discussion. Having the combine-21 also helps ensure cover on the combine-7 when particular committee members are unavailable.

Members on the combine committee are expected to:

  1. Encourage members in their constituency to hold meetings, elect reps and get involved at a local level
  2. Seek views from members, reps and contacts in their constituency
  3. Work together as a team
  4. Maximise members’ involvement in decision making
  5. Take part in combine committee discussions and decision-making
  6. Report back to members, reps and contacts in their constituency
  7. Coordinate with reps and contacts in their constituency, including encouraging them to undertake training and gain accreditation
  8. Liaise with the union full-time officers covering Fujitsu in their constituency

Being a member of the combine committee is a separate role from being a local rep or contact, but it is expected that most committee members would also be doing that role.

It is recognised that the time and facilities available will vary considerably, depending on geography, whether or not the committee member is covered by union recognition etc, and that activities are undertaken on a volunteer basis.


Posted by IMH at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2009

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 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:
www.ourunion.org.uk/interested

Of course if you want to get involved in the campaign, please join UNITE.

Posted by IMH at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Reps are Good

Reps are the bedrock of union organisation. Campaigning over big issues like pay and pensions is an important part of the role, but reps also spend time advising and supporting individuals, as well as preventing or solving problems.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) recently joined with the government department (BERR) and the employers’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to issue a joint statement recognising the contribution made by union reps.

If you’d consider becoming a rep or contact where you work, why not get in touch to talk it over?

Posted by IMH at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

Oppose the BNP

Members in the North-West and Yorkshire and the Humber have particular reasons to be disturbed by the results of the European elections, as they are now represented in the European parliament by BNP members with long track records as racists and fascists. This will give them access to public money.

When faced with a serious recession, working people have a choice. We can either unite together across divisions of race, religion and sexuality to protect our livelihoods, or we can turn on each other. Every advance for the BNP makes it harder to defend our jobs, pay and pensions, as well as threatening the safety of many UNITE members.

Despite the deeply worrying election results, the BNP remain a small minority. The electoral system meant that they won two seats despite their number of votes actually going down in both constituencies where they won seats, compared to the previous (2004) Euro-elections. If the majority of people speak up, we can prevent the BNP making further advances and push them back.

Please get involved in local campaigns in your area, and consider joining Unite Against Fascism.

Posted by IMH at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

Attendance Policies for Comment

Important – these changes affect YOU

Since 1st April there have been changes (some significant) to lots of company policies. Some of these changes are due to new legislation, but the company has used this opportunity to change some parts for the worse. In the past when we have been consulted we have published the drafts to members, to allow them to comment and have input to the consultation. The company have not consulted with UNITE (and in some cases not with the UKCF either) about these changes but have gone ahead and implemented them across the company.

There have been big changes in the policies dealing with sickness and attendance at work:

· Attendance at Work Guidelines
· Short Term & Intermittent Absence From Work Guidelines
· Long Term Sickness Absence From Work Guidelines
· Unauthorised Absence From Work Guidelines
· Guidelines For Dealing With Disabilities
· Sick Pay Guidelines
· Return to Work Interview Guidelines
· Alcohol, Drug & Substance Abuse Guidelines
· Dealing with HIV/AIDS in the Workplace Guidelines

There have also been changes to some of the other policies:

· Business Travel & Expenses Policy Guidelines
· Business Travel & Expenses Policy
· Bullying Harassment and Victimisation Guidelines
· Bullying Harassment and Victimisation Policy

Some examples of the changes which cause serious concern include:

  • ‘Managers will interview all employees on their return from absence, where the duration of the absence is greater than or equal to one day. The purpose of the interview is to explore the causes of the absence, to facilitate the employee’s return to work, and identify any reasonable and practical steps to reduce the likelihood of future absence.’

  • ‘Without prior management agreement, e-mails, text messages and faxes are unacceptable as the sole method of notifying absence, unless in extreme circumstances but may be used to record or draw attention to attempts to notify the Company. If the manager is unavailable, and there is no voice mail facility, the employee or their nominee must notify the manager’s nominated deputy.’

  • Appointments – ‘Employees are expected to make every effort to minimise disruption to service delivery by arranging these appointments outside of their normal working hours wherever possible. Where this is not possible, they should attempt to arrange appointments at the beginning or end of the day. It will be at the manager’s discretion as to how time off for medical appointments is recorded, e.g. sickness, unpaid leave, holidays or “making up the time” depending on the individual circumstances. Employees may be required to produce evidence of their appointment.’ The 2nd statement leaves scope for some managers to treat employees inconsistently.

  • Guidance Standards:


    Trigger – level of sickness absence

    Suggested action to be taken

    4 absences of 1 day or more or 14 days sickness absence in a 12 month period

    Attendance Review Meeting

    A further 2 occasions of sickness absence or 10 days sickness absence in the next six month period

    Stage 1 – First Written Warning

    A further 2 occasions of sickness absence or 10 days sickness absence in the six month period following the first written warning

    Stage 2 – Second Written Warning

    A further 2 occasions of sickness absence or 10 days sickness absence in the 6 month period following the second written warning

    Stage 3 – Final Written Warning

    A further 2 occasions of sickness absence or 10 days sickness absence in any 6 month period following the final written warning

    Stage 4. Dismissal may be considered. All cases will be dealt with on an individual basis



In summary these new policy and guidelines for attendance at work include significant changes and show that the company are looking to make the process for reporting absence and interviewing employees when they return from absences more time-consuming and rigid, while the trigger levels for Attendance Improvement Plans and disciplinary action are harsh, discriminatory and punitive. The tone of the policies is to treat employees as guilty until proven innocent.

UNITE is asking members to comment on the changes to the policies by emailing the Amicus the Union mailbox, and to consider what action UNITE should take regarding the non-consultation over these changes. Please take the time to comment. These changes WILL affect you.

Some of your reps have begun working through the attendance policies and making comments. To make it easier for you to comment and to avoid duplication, UNITE has published the set of the attendance related policies including the comments already made on CafeVIK. You will need the password forcommentonly to access them.

The company has now agreed to meet with UNITE reps to take another look at the policies, so your input will be valuable. UNITE has a track record of winning improvements, as we recently reported in relation to sickness absence reporting.

Posted by IMH at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

FAQ on Industrial Action

It is inevitable that all sorts of fears, misconceptions, misunderstandings, rumours and downright lies will circulate as we move towards a ballot on industrial action. Whether these are spread maliciously or not, they have the potential to undermine our campaign. You can help prevent this by:

  • Checking with your UNITE reps before passing on anything that you’re not sure about.
  • Reading union newsletters so you are kept well informed.
  • Challenging nonsense.

A silly statement that goes unchallenged can become accepted as a fact. Even if you’re not confident to get into an argument, just saying “I’m not sure about that, I’ll check with UNITE” prevents colleagues taking something as true when it’s not.

Over the coming weeks, UNITE newsletters will try to answer some of the common questions and concerns about industrial action. Here are a few to begin with:



“You can be sacked if you go on strike”
No. Instead of giving a positive “right to strike”, UK law gives you certain “immunities” for taking part in lawful industrial action. So no action can be taken against you for breaking your contract through lawful industrial action. Any dismissal during the first 12 weeks of lawful industrial action is automatically “unfair” unless a tribunal rules that it was for a reason not to do with the action.

You can’t go on strike if you’re not in a bargaining unit or covered by union recognition”

No. Whether or not strike action is lawful has nothing to do with this.

“You can’t go on strike unless you’re a union member”

No. The union can only ballot those employees who are its members, but it can call all the employees in the group involved out on strike. Non-members who take lawful industrial action have the same legal position and rights as members. However, it’s easier for union members to assert their rights, and union members may get financial help from the union during a dispute.

“You only get strike pay if you’re really broke”

No. UNITE provides its members with “dispute benefit” as a benefit of membership. From 1st September 2009 this will be £30 per day (or £150 per week). This is a basic level of support available to all members on strike, and is not means-tested. Strikers can also raise a great deal of money from other trade unionists, local supporters etc, to supplement dispute benefit.
For example, during the Fujitsu Manchester dispute in 2006-7, the union provided “Additional Strike Assistance” as well as “Hardship Payments”. Additional Strike Assistance was not means tested, but members were encouraged not to claim it if they could manage without, so that more money could go to those who did. Hardship Payments were an even higher level of support for those who would otherwise have been unable to take part in the action. Fundraising was successful in ensuring that nobody was prevented from taking part in the action for financial reasons.

“Striking ruins the relationship with the company”

Sometimes. But sometimes striking helps. Relationships between the company and UNITE in Manchester are far better than they were before the 2006-7 strikes. A great number of issues that had festered for years finally got some attention. Many of them were resolved. The process of resolving those also built relationships that continue to help deal with other issues.
If you realise you are in an abusive relationship, it’s time to do something about it. The company isn’t showing much respect for its employees. If we stand up for ourselves this can change.

If you have other points for the FAQ, please let your reps know.

Posted by IMH at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

We’re not the Only Ones

Fujitsu staff aren’t alone in resisting efforts to make us pay for a recession we didn’t create.

Colleagues at HP/EDS in Germany voted by over 90% to strike over jobs, working conditions and pay. Why not send them a letter of support?

Here in the UK, UNITE members at another major IT multinational are balloting for action against a pay freeze.

UNITE members at Linamar in Swansea were due to start an all-out strike to demand the reinstatement of their sacked convenor (senior rep) Rob Williams. The news has come through today that Rob has been reinstated. Thank-you to all those members who supported the campaign.

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

Pay and Pensions – Enough is Enough!

The minutes of the first two pension forum meetings (15th May and 2nd June) have been published on the ICL Pension Members Committee (IPMC) CafeVIK community. Please take the time to read them.

If you have comments or questions for the pension consultation process, please feed them in via your IPMC rep or to us. If you have any questions about your own individual pension or about technical aspects of how the Pension Plan works then they need to be sent directly to the Company’s Pensions Department.

The more information that is coming out about company performance, the clearer it seems that senior management are simply taking advantage of the recession to increase profits at the expense of our pay and pensions. Did you know:

1. Fujitsu Services’ profits more than doubled last year to £177m (the highest ever), which equates to around £8000 per employee

2. Fujitsu Services’ revenue went up £304m

3. While senior managers complain about poor orders and backlog last year, orders actually went up £528m (24%) and backlog went up £68m

4. The company is budgeting for 2009-10 performance to be broadly similar to last year

5. According to Reuters, Fujitsu Ltd plans to spend over $3bn spare cash to pay off debts this year

6. Fujitsu’s share price rose sharply recently. According to Reuters, this was based on “solid services ops” and a higher than expected profits forecast for 2009-10

7. Fujitsu Ltd paid a dividend of 24.46 billion Yen (approximately £154m) to shareholders last year. Implementing the pay rise from 1st April would have cost the company approximately £15m.

8. The cost to Fujitsu of employees accruing benefits in the ICL DB pension plan last year was £28m – for 4000 employees. The most recent available figures show one of our directors getting a package of £2.4m.

No wonder employees feel that enough is enough. If we don’t stand up for ourselves now, what will be next?

It is particularly worrying that the company has chosen to try to force through the pension change using very aggressive tactics. They have put almost 4000 staff on “90 days” in order to dismiss the employees and re-employ them on new contracts with worse pension provision. Nothing can change until at least mid-November, so there’s still time to stop this. If we let the company get away with these tactics, will anything or anyone be safe?

Campaign Plans

UNITE is running a national campaign on pay and pensions. Your reps plan to run a “consultative ballot” of members across the UK, to gauge the level of support for industrial action over these issues. The intention is for the consultative ballot to open around late June or early July, so that the result would be available in time to influence the outcome of the pensions consultation.

If by that stage members were not satisfied with what the company offers on pay and pensions, we could then hold a legally valid industrial action ballot.

What you can do:

1. Please talk to your colleagues about pay and pensions, about other issues that concern you, and about UNITE. Large numbers of employees are already joining UNITE, and many more say they are seriously thinking about it. The company would take far more notice of the consultative ballot result if 12000 people voted than if 12 did. UNITE can only ballot members, so if colleagues want to make their feelings known to the company, the most powerful way for them to do it is to join the union and recruit their colleagues. Best of all to join before the consultative ballot takes place.

2. You should have received a personal email from Ian Allinson (late on Wednesday 3rd June) asking you to confirm or correct your membership details. Thanks to the 700+ members who have already replied. If you haven’t replied yet, please do so as soon as possible. It is essential to have correct membership information prior to holding a ballot. If you don’t reply you will cause extra work for your reps in chasing you up, or you could even allow the company to use the anti-union laws to invalidate any ballot.

3. UNITE is organising a training and “pay and pensions” campaign planning event for members over the weekend of 20-21 June, in Manchester. If you want to take part, please get in touch as soon as possible for more details. Having people involved from as many areas as possible would be a great boost for the campaign.

4. Have you had a meeting in your area to discuss what’s going on? If not, why not help your local reps and contacts (see footer) to organise one? Please get in touch if you want any help.

5. The company has indicated it expects feedback from employees at the “CEO Exchange” meetings Roger Gilbert, our new Chief Executive, is holding around the UK. Check the “CEO Exchange” dates already fixed and make sure you book up and speak up at a session near you.

6. Can you help the campaign by getting some money? UNITE “branches” hold funds which can be used to support campaigns. Members in Fujitsu are in dozens of different branches across the UK. You can check which branch you are in by going to www.unitetheunion.com and logging in to “My Unite”. Then choose “Contact Us”, “Change your details” and login to My Unite again. Select the “My Branch” tab and it should show (amongst other things) the meeting place, time and day for your UNITE branch. If you are able to go along, please get in touch so your reps can provide you with a summary of the issues, request for funds etc. Don’t be shy – this is your money, from your subs. Your branch should be there to support you when you need it.

7. Some members have already begun contacting their MPs to complain about the attacks on pay and pensions. If you do this, you could mention that Fujitsu is a major supplier to central government. You could also point out how profitable companies like Fujitsu are depressing consumer spending, so undermining the government’s efforts to lift the economy out of recession with its fiscal stimulus.

Posted by IMH at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2009

Manchester EGM reminder

Don’t forget the EGM this afternoon:

Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) for all UNITE members in the Manchester bargaining unit:
2pm-4pm, Wednesday 3rd June
MAN35 canteen

Have you really got anything more important to do than attending this meeting about your pay and pensions?

Members are entitled to attend the meeting in work time. If your manager might need to arrange cover for you while you are away from your job, please confirm your release with your manager as soon as possible. If you have any difficulty arranging release, please contact your rep straight away – if you leave it till the last minute, your reps may be unable to help.

Agenda

The proposed agenda is:

1. Welcome, Introductions, Apologies
2. Pay Report
3. Pensions Report
4. Motion on Pay & Pensions (see below)
5. Motion on Organisation (see below)
6. Election of Additional Reps
7. Any Other Business (notified in advance)
8. Next Steps

Motion on Pay & Pensions

The original email included the text of a motion.

Motion on Organisation

The original email included the text of a motion.

Posted by IMH at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

Fujitsu Manchester: Report from EGM 3rd June 2009

Thanks to all the members who attended today’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) for Fujitsu Manchester.

Members discussed reports on a range of issues.

A motion on Pay & Pensions was unanimously agreed:

We note that Fujitsu is continuing its drive to increase profits at the expense of employees. We feel strongly that the company has failed to provide any adequate explanation for the changes, and has made no serious attempt to convince employees that they are necessary. We are particularly concerned because the changes appear more like moves to permanently worsen the deal for employees, rather than temporary measures.

We believe that the company’s failure to implement our pay agreement, just weeks after it was reached in good faith, marks a new low-point for Fujitsu in honour and integrity in its dealings with employees.

We oppose the closure of the ICL Defined Benefit pension plan, which is the equivalent of a large pay cut for almost 4000 employees. We believe that the company’s attempt to force this through by proposing to dismiss and re-employ these staff on worse contracts is a disgrace. We believe that this would set a dangerous precedent for the security of pay and benefits for all Fujitsu employees.

We believe that the actions of Fujitsu’s senior management, in trying to cut the living standards of employees, are irresponsible. They risk jeopardising the company’s future by undermining staff morale and skills retention. The actions of Fujitsu and other companies pursuing a similar approach also risk turning recession into depression by reducing consumer demand and spending. This undermines the efforts of governments to spend our taxes on “fiscal stimulus”.

We resolve to:

  1. Campaign against the pay freeze and the proposed closure of the ICL DB pension plan. Different employees are affected in different ways, so we recognise the need for a united response where we support each other on these issues.
  2. Talk to our colleagues in Manchester and at other sites about the campaign, and encourage them to join the union and get involved.
  3. Take part in the activities organised as part of the campaign.

We instruct our reps and officers to:

  1. Register a “Failure To Agree” in the pay talks.
  2. Run the pay and pensions campaign using all the three forms of pressure that proved successful in our dispute in 2006-7: industrial action, organising in Manchester and at other sites, and external pressure (media, political, customers, legal etc).
  3. Coordinate our pay & pensions campaign with UNITE and PCS members across the UK, in recognition of the fact that these are national issues and a national campaign has much greater chances of success.
  4. Organise a weekend training and campaign planning event bringing together members from across the country.
  5. Organise a consultative ballot on industrial action (including strike action), so that the result is available before the end of the pensions consultation period.

A motion on Organisation was unanimously agreed:

We note that very few Fujitsu employees outside Manchester have any experience of taking part in industrial action. We resolve to help our colleagues to tackle and overcome the misconceptions and fears that could prove a barrier to a successful campaign.

We believe that members’ participation and democratic control of a campaign is vital for its successful conduct and outcome. In our dispute in 2006-7, most decisions were taken at meetings open to all members (EGMs or open “strike committee” meetings). We believe that this helped ensure the approach taken was one members understood and supported, increasing unity in action.

We recognise that in a national campaign, it is not appropriate for national decisions to be taken at a Manchester members’ meeting. We recognise the importance of maintaining unity with our colleagues outside the bargaining unit and ensuring they have their say too.

We instruct our reps to:

  1. Work with colleagues across the UK to set up an elected national “combine” structure where every member is represented.
  2. Ensure that meetings open to all Manchester members continue to be held at appropriate times during the campaign. These meetings can be one of the channels to input to and report from the combine.
  3. Encourage members at other sites to hold union meetings, elect reps and ensure they are accountable.

Members agreed the election of two new reps to join the existing team:

  • Nikki Aldridge, as a deputy Workplace Rep
  • Roberts, as both a deputy Workplace Rep and an Equality Rep

A collection for the dispute at Linamar Swansea over the victimisation of UNITE convenor Rob Williams raised £110.82.

Posted by IMH at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)