February 25, 2012

UNITE Manchester Newsletter (Feb 2012)

Our new Manchester newsletter/"One Per Desk" leaflet is available here.

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February 13, 2012

FJUK Pension Consultation group elections

One of the achievements of UNITE’s campaigning over the last couple of years was the creation of a new consultation group for the FJUK pension plan, which most employees are in.

In previous notices UNITE asked for volunteers who would be interested in taking part in the consultation body.

The company is expected to open nominations tomorrow (Tuesday 14th Feb) for the four directly elected seats. UNITE and PCS are asking everyone to support the following candidates in the election:

  1. Alasdair Lewis
  2. Chris Woolley
  3. Ed Wells

If you too are interested in joining the consultation group too, please get in touch as soon as possible. Female volunteers would be particularly welcome, as the candidates identified so far are all male. Because the elections are being conducted on a “First Past The Post” basis please DON’T nominate yourself without talking to UNITE first, as there is a risk that if members stand without coordinating through UNITE we could “split the vote” and end up with no members elected.

Alongside the four directly elected reps on the FJUK Pension Consultation Group there will also be two designated UNITE places on the consultation group, for which our Combine Committee has selected Christopher Jones and Robert (Wilf) Williams, and two representatives each from PCS and Fujitsu Voice.

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February 03, 2012

Save our NHS

The TUC says:

The House of Lords are to start discussing proposed changes to the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill on 8 February. The seriousness of this Bill cannot be understated. It threatens the very principles on which the National Health Service was founded by turning it into a business where our taxes will pay for private companies to provide our healthcare. Profit will come before patient care. These reforms are being pushed through at a time when the government is asking the NHS to make unprecedented cuts. Despite Government assertions to the contrary, deep concerns about the Bill are held by practitioners and patients from across the health service. They are also shared by many of the coalitions own supporters, including a number of MPs and Peers, who have criticised what Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary is trying to push through.

Now we are asking anyone who cares about our NHS to join us in a Save our NHS rally in Westminster Central Hall, opposite the Houses of Parliament at 18:00 on 7 March. The rally has been organised by the All Together for the NHS Campaign and brings together a range of unions, professional bodies, patients and members of the public who are opposed to the Bill.

Some changes have been made to the Bill but not nearly enough.

Peers must listen to the concerns of the people that know the NHS best – the staff who work in it. Health workers fear the increased competition and the extension of markets will have a devastating impact on patient care, especially poorer people who will find themselves pushed to the back of ever-growing waiting lists.

We hope the rally on 7 March will provide the opportunity for NHS workers and patients to send a loud message across Parliament Square to convince the House of Lords that this Bill would be a disaster for the NHS.

If you’re able to join the rally at 6pm on Wednesday 7th March at Westminster Central Hall, opposite the Houses of Parliament, please do. If you need help with transport please get in touch as UNITE is in the process of organising this from each region.

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"Interim" Out of hours

Despite the failure to consult Fujitsu Voice before they were introduced, the company continues to gradually expand the pool of people on the (dreadful) “UK Interim Additional Hours Guidelines”. Whenever you move department, change job etc you need to be very careful to ensure the company doesn’t take the opportunity to worsen your terms and conditions for Overtime, Shift, Standby or Callout – whether you are currently working Out Of Hours or not.

The company has generated a myriad of Out Of Hours terms over the years, in its attempt to undermine the Unsocial Hours Policy (UHP) which used to apply to everyone in the company below Management grade (and still applies to many).

Fujitsu has informed UNITE that it is plans minor changes to the “interim” guidelines following feedback from Fujitsu Voice. They also confirmed what many had assumed – “interim” is no more than spin – Fujitsu has no plans to replace them.

In Manchester the union has had considerable success in preventing the use of the interim guidelines and the recent agreement means many of those recorded as on them are being put on something more appropriate. However, Fujitsu has now begun consultation with UNITE about introducing them to the bargaining unit – which will clearly be a key issue locally over the coming months with potential national implications.

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Professional community changes and pay

The company is looking to revamp many of its Professional Communities. As these form the basis of pay and benefits, career development and allocation of work in the company, this is a key issue for employees.

The most significant changes are expected in Account Management, Client Executives, Delivery Executives, Project Management and Service Delivery Management, but some change is also being planned in Sales, Customer Solution Architects, Operations, General Management and Business Consultancy.

It is also planned to group Professional Communities together as (perhaps) “Customer Facing”, “Customer Support” and “Internal Support”, though these names aren’t a good guide to what might go where – for example “Customer Facing” is just Sales, Client Executives and Delivery Executives, so most staff who actually deal with customers would be in “Customer Support” irrespective of whether their role is support or not.

There is also talk of the possibility of breaking up the giant Operations Professional Community (OPC) which includes over 4000 staff in a wide variety of roles.

The current changes to the Service Delivery Management (SDM) community illustrate some of the issues staff are likely to face. The community currently comprises a number of roles (MAN/1 etc). It is proposed to reallocate staff amongst a variety of existing and new role codes.

A change of role code means your future pay and benefits will be assessed against the comparators and guidelines for the new role code, affecting future pay reviews etc. Because the population in the new role code is different from the old one, it is likely that the median will change (up or down). For those in the Manchester bargaining unit, section 9 of the pay agreement gives some protection. It’s important to know the old and new pay and benefit comparators before you accept or appeal against any change in role code – so you are making an informed decision. Where the move means a reduction in comparators, there needs to be discussion about how to handle it e.g. red circling.

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The company is making major changes for Personal Assistants (PAs), the next group of staff to face becoming a “shared service”. There is some information about the changes and an FAQ here.

Financial incentives for those who maintain the highly intrusive DV security clearance are also changing. This is a major improvement on the highly contentious proposal which came out some months ago.

Many employees who were transferred in from FTS have received notification that they will have to start paying for personal calls made on company mobiles. There is no tax reason for this change – HMRC ruled that this is not a taxable benefit in order to relieve employers of the administrative burden of recording which calls were personal. Rather than trying to take this benefit off former FTS employees, why not extend it to all employees with company phones? Some former FTS employees may be able to challenge the change on contractual or TUPE grounds.

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Changes to Manchester campus guarding - Your views please

UNITE Health & Safety reps have been informed by the company of an important change they propose to security provision on the Campus. The company’s note reads:

Additional efficiencies have been identified as a result of the new security arrangements for the Manchester Campus and therefore we propose to remove day time guarding at the Manchester Campus as currently this role is more aligned to the Facilities Management team than Security and the tasks being undertaken can be absorbed back into the FM function on site.

The Security guarding provision would remain during silent hours – 1800-0600 Monday to Friday and 24/7 at weekends.

Your comments/thoughts would be welcomed.

We have been asking the company for a risk assessment covering this change and its impact on Campus users, but the only document provided is clearly not the result of a risk assessment process. We have written to the company, asking for the change to be to put on hold until a proper risk assessment is carried out and discussed with us, but the change could nevertheless be imminent.

We need your feedback! If you have concerns about the proposed removal of daytime guarding, please let us know what they are. If the on-site security guard has been helpful to you in the past please use the same link to give us a short description of how.

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Pay - your share

While some (usually very well paid) people keep telling us we’re “all in it together”, the TUC has published a report highlighting the fact that UK workers are getting a falling proportion of national output. Had this kept up with where we were 30 years ago, workers would take home £60bn a year more between us.

The impact has been greatest amongst lower earners, reflecting the widening wage gap.

There’s even a tool where you can work out what your wage would be if workers’ share of national output hadn’t fallen over the last 30 years.

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