July 27, 2012

Redundancy report, Manchester

UNITE continues to support members affected by piecemeal redundancy exercises across the company.  One of the members involved in the Business Operations has recently secured an alternative role within Fujitsu which he is enjoying and has provided a report about the support UNITE provided:

  • Making yourself heard – once you are selected for redundancy, you feel as though you have little influence on what is happening; no-one will care what you have to say.  The union is able to make your voice heard and points made, both directly and through Fujitsu Voice.  You may think you are the only person with an issue or point to make but the union is able to collect these together from others who might be in the same position.
  • What’s happening – the union was able to tell me what was happening and as importantly what should happen in the process.  It is not unusual for the company to get something wrong.  You need help to recognise if that has occurred. There were newsletters and meetings where the redundancy activity was discussed.
  • Appeals and hearings – these are stressful times and I was helped and accompanied by a member of the union at each occasion.  It is really valuable to have someone who has been through the process before and understands your rights and the company’s obligations.  They are objective and able to tell you when a course of action is likely to bring results.  They also gave me ideas to use in relation to my appeals hearings when I had had enough.
  • Redeployment – the company support for redeployment is extremely limited.  Unite pro-actively tried to help with my redeployment; suggesting roles and operating an informal job-swap scheme which almost succeeded in my case.  They also actively campaigned for voluntary redundancies to help anyone who wanted to stay.  At the time I was selected, there were very few jobs on Opportunities and I needed support to remain working through my notice to maximise my chance of finding a role.
  • Manchester Annex 1 agreement – this agreement gave me additional rights and support through the consultation period and beyond.  I got a 90 days consultation period as a right compared to the 30 days for others.  The Union fought to get all those affected by redundancy to have the same 90 day period.  I was able to remain in the company long enough to find an alternative role.
  • Focus on me – as we got closer to the date for potentially leaving the company I felt an increased focus on my case, down to the point when a special newsletter was circulated to highlight my position and expand the opportunity for finding another role.  There was always someone to talk to and provide advice.  This is really valuable as most people around you have ‘moved on’ to new roles or new focus.
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Rep elections in the South-East, South-West and Wales

Elections for reps have already taken place across most of the country.  The last area where members need to elect reps is the South-East, South-West and Wales region, which includes members contractually based at sites (including HOM99) in the following postcodes:

BA, BH, BN, BS, CF, CT, DT, EX, GL, GU, HP, LD, LL, ME, MK, NP, OX, PO, RG, SL, SO, RH, TN, PL, SA, SN, SP, SY, TA, TQ, TR

The region includes major sites such as Bracknell, Slough, Basingstoke and Reading.

So far in this region members have re-elected Chris Forrest and Jim Anderson at the recent members’ meeting at Basingstoke.

The following have already indicated they are willing to be reps:

  • Joe Harrison, BRA01
  • Brian Reeves, BRA01 (as a Health & Safety rep)
  • Jason Hudson, REA24

If you are at either site and object to either of these candidates, please email to say so.  If no objections are received by Thursday 9th August they will be declared elected unopposed.
UNITE is keen to have more reps across the region – full training is provided.  If you are willing to stand as a rep and join the team, please send an email by Thursday 9th August including:

  • Your name
  • Where you are standing for election (e.g. site, bargaining unit)
  • Your contractual base location
  • What position(s) you are standing for: Workplace Rep, Health & Safety Rep, Learning Rep, Equality Rep, Environmental Rep
  • Fujitsu email address
  • Private email address (if you have one)
  • Phone number(s)
  • Optionally, a statement of up to 100 words explaining why members should elect you (examples available on request)

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Out of hours

In August the company is running a pilot of a new online system for employees claiming overtime, standby and callout payments.

In principle, the idea of introducing a single consistent process across the company is good.

However, previous attempts to centralise administration of Out Of Hours (OOH) payments have hit problems because the company’s records of which OOH terms individuals are on are so incomplete and inaccurate.  This has in the past resulted in payments being delayed, employees being underpaid, or the company attempting to impose reductions in payments on an ongoing basis.

Do not assume that information you are given by the company about your OOH terms is correct.

In the pilot, the old and new systems should be run alongside each other for a month so there should be the opportunity to iron out issues without impacting payments.  But this will only work if employees are quick to raise any problems and the company is quick to resolve them.

If you are part of the pilot, please:

  • Make sure you put your claims and data in promptly
  • Make sure you query any discrepancies promptly
  • If in doubt, please seek advice from your UNITE rep
  • If any issues are not resolved promptly and to your satisfaction, escalate the issue without delay

Sadly there are many cases across the company where employees have permanently lost out by not being “on the ball” when the company made changes to terms and conditions that were unclear to the individual and they failed to raise and resolve it promptly.  Please don’t be such a case!

One particular source of confusion in relation to OOH terms is the code “NOELIG” which many HR and managers falsely tell employees means that you have “no eligibility” for payment if you work OOH.  As John Lucas explained in his company announcement on 9th November 2007 “In some cases the code ‘NOELIG’ is recorded in some of the data fields, this has been used in the case where a particular type of ‘out of hours’ work was not required to be worked during the period commencing April 2006 to October 2008”.  In other words, the NOELIG code provides no information at all about what your OOH terms might be – it simply means that you weren’t working it during the period in question so no details of your eligibility were recorded during the data cleansing exercise.

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July 20, 2012

£25 Reward for introducing new members

Our ability to campaign effectively, defend what we have and win more depends on the size and involvement of the union membership across Fujitsu.

While this has been growing for a number of years, many of us feel impatient that we could achieve far more if we were better organised.

UNITE nationally has recently launched an “introduce a friend” scheme where you can receive a £25 voucher for each person who joins after you introduce them.  The details of the scheme are here:
www.unitetheunion.org/introduce

Please have a think about who you could talk to about joining the union.  Employees generally have similar concerns whether they are union members or not, so you don’t need to be an expert on UNITE to talk to a colleague about joining – you know why you are a member yourself!

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Stress

In Fujitsu, mental health issues top the list of reasons for sickness absence and many employees believe that work-related stress is a major contributor to that.

In order to establish some hard facts, UNITE Health & Safety reps have set up an online survey which is open to all Fujitsu’s UK staff.  The survey questions are taken from the Health & Safety Executive’s indicator tool for managing stress and UNITE will be able to use an HSE tool to analyse the results and determine aspects of working conditions that might be contributing to stress and need improvement.

Please take five minutes to complete the survey whether or not you believe stress is a problem for you – reps want the results to be as representative as possible.

Please encourage colleagues to complete the survey too.

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Checking your terms and conditions

Having good records of your terms and conditions can make all the difference if you are faced with a TUPE transfer, redundancy, or a disagreement with the company about your Ts & Cs.

It’s a good idea to keep all your key contractual documentation (original contract, any changes, formal letters from the company) together in one safe place at home so you can find it if you need it.  It is a frequent occurrence that the company’s records are incomplete or inaccurate, so having good records of your own can be vital to protecting your Ts & Cs.

Good starting points for your file would be to:

  • Print off the details shown on “Your HR” on CafeVIK
    Go to My CafeVIK -> My Support Systems -> Your HR
    Log on with your domain logon
    Look at the pages displayed when you click on “Employment Details” and “Pay and Benefits” (both under “Your Information”) and print them off
    While you’re at it check and update the various pages under “Your Personal Details”
  • Print off the statement on pensions contractual status
  • Request an Employee Record Print (ERP) from HR Direct, which gives you the basic information held about you on the HR Database
  • If you want to go further, you could ask via HR Direct for a copy of all the contractual documentation they hold about you.  They are likely to charge you a £10 administration fee to provide this – the maximum allowed under the Data Protection Act, so if you want to do this it’s worth considering whether there’s any other information the company holds about you that you’d want to request at the same time.  Do keep it specific, otherwise you may not get what you need.

When you get information, check it carefully – errors are commonplace and rarely in the employee’s favour.  If anything appears wrong, ask the company to correct it straight away (and keep a copy of your request in your file).  If you don’t understand any of it, please speak to your UNITE rep.

It’s also important that you pay attention if the company proposes any changes to your terms and conditions.  Unfortunately it is common in Fujitsu for employees to have signed up to detrimental changes that they didn’t understand at the time and which they were falsely reassured were just technicalities that wouldn’t affect them.  If in doubt – get advice – and make sure that advice is from an independent and trained UNITE rep, not from HR.  Your reps would much rather spend 10 minutes dealing with queries at the time changes are proposed – when issues can often be readily resolved – then help you grapple with a complex case later when the chickens come home to roost.

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Employment rights under threat

In recent months there has been a steady stream of news about consultations and proposals from the government and various advisors and lobby groups about worsening employment rights under the guise of “flexibility” “competitiveness” and cutting “red tape”.

Most startling were the proposals in the report from Adrian Beecroft.  Far from being an expert on employment issues, he is a venture capitalist.  Beecroft is chairman of Dawn Capital, which has a large stake in Wonga.com, one of the “pay day lenders” that rely for their profits on the existence of a large pool of people in low-paid, irregular and vulnerable employment.

Amongst the proposals under discussion are:

  • Fees for workers to access Employment Tribunals (but no fees for the many employers who put workers through hell pointlessly contesting and delaying cases)
  • “Protected conversations” where an employer could try to “persuade” an employee to accept money to leave without the employee being able to complain about what they say – a license to bully that could make lawful some of the current dodgy practice around Compromise Agreements
  • Turning maternity pay into a state administered benefit, discouraging employers from paying more than the legal minimum
  • Removing redress from millions of workers in smaller companies if they are unfairly dismissed.  The government has already changed the law to allow employers to unfairly dismiss workers who have between one and two years’ service – a change expected to impact about 2.7m workers.

For more information on the changes and the campaign against them, see http://stopemploymentwrongs.org/.

The TUC has called a national demonstration for “a future that works” against the government’s austerity and cuts for 20th October.  UNITE is organising transport from around the country – if you’re able to join a contingent from Fujitsu please get in touch.  For more details of the demonstration see http://afuturethatworks.org/.

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National Newsletter and Pay Briefing

UNITE members are busy distributing the latest “one per desk” newsletter across the country.  If it hasn’t gone out in your area yet, please volunteer to help with distribution.  Getting information out to staff is vital to building effective union organisation that can get results.

For those of you who don’t visit a site, the leaflet is also available online.  [If you get a log-on box when accessing this, just click cancel]

All members should now have received UNITE’s annual briefing on Fujitsu pay scales by post to their home address.  If you haven’t received this, please contact our membership secretary as it is likely the union has an incorrect address for you.

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UNITE resources for you

Apart from your reps, there are many other resources available to you as a UNITE member in Fujitsu.

One of the best is the online publications database we have subscribed to from the Labour Research Department (LRD).  The LRD (which despite the name is not linked to the Labour Party) provides authoritative plain-English information on all kinds of issues affecting members from employment law to health and safety to state benefits and tax credits.  As a UNITE member in Fujitsu you can access the database:

  • Go to http://www.lrdpublications.org.uk/ [The original newsletter included the username and password for accessing the service] Apart from the search facility, we’d recommend the “LRD Booklets” section which gives you access to short and accessible guides to a variety of topics
  • If you want you can receive the weekly LRD Fact Service bulletin by email

The LRD subscription is a benefit of being a UNITE member, and which costs money, so please don’t pass the details on to non-members.

Many of you will already have received UNITE’s magazine “UniteWorks” through the post.  The magazine, along with a variety of other publications, is also available online.  If you haven’t received it, you can sign up to get it by post or email by contacting the membership department at your regional office – details are on page 35 of the magazine.

UNITE has a relationship with UIA which can offer discounted home, travel and pet insurance.  Unlike many other insurers, UIA is a mutual organisation with UK call centres.  With union representation on the board, UIA claims to take a more supportive approach when you need to make a claim.  When members use their services, UIA makes a payment to UNITE which helps support our campaigning work.  Details of this and other member benefits are on the UNITE web site too.

For those looking for jobs, UNITE has recently launched a jobs portal for members, with details of tens of thousands of jobs: http://www.unite4jobs.co.uk/.

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Elections

Thanks to all the members who supported the union members who were standing for election to Fujitsu Voice in the recent by-elections – and a particular thank you to the candidates – whether elected or not.  The results consolidated the position where a majority of Fujitsu Voice reps are union members, which is very important given the company strategy of trying to use Fujitsu Voice to marginalise the unions.  UNITE is keen to see the work of the unions and Fujitsu Voice complementing each other to the benefit of employees.

Back in May UNITE members voted for changes to the structure of our “Combine Committee” that coordinates UNITE’s work in Fujitsu at both regional and UK level.

Members on the Combine Committee are expected to:

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

Now that most sites and areas around the country have elected their local UNITE reps for the coming year, it’s time to elect your Combine Committee members.
If you are willing to stand for election to the Combine Committee, please email by Tuesday 7th August including:

  • Your name
  • Your Fujitsu email address (and a private email address if you have one)
  • Your work phone number (and a mobile number if you have one)
  • Which constituency you are standing for (see below)
  • An election statement of up to 100 words (examples are available on request)

Existing members of the Combine Committee DO need to stand if they wish to be re-elected.

The new constituencies, which reflect the spread of membership across the UK, are based on your contractual base location (home address if HOM99):

;
ConstituencyPostcodesNumber of seats
Manchester Bargaining UnitMembers in scope of the Manchester Recognition Agreement are in this Combine Constituency wherever they are based5
London & EasternAL, BR, CB, CM, CO, CR, DA, E, EC, EN, HA, IG, IP, KT, LU, N, NR, NW, PE, RM, SE, SG, SM, SS, SW, TW, UB, W, WC, WD3 (1 STE, 2 any)
MidlandsB, CV, DE, DY, HR, LE, LN, NG, NN, TF, WR, WS, WV2
North-East, Yorkshire, Humberside & ScotlandAB, BD, DD, DG, DH, DL, DN, EH, FK, G, HD, HG, HS, HU, HX, IV, KA, KW, KY, LS, ML, NE, PA, PH, S, SR, TS, TD, WF, YO, ZE2
Northern IrelandBT2 (1 IRE11, 1 any)
North-WestBB, BL, CA, CH, CW, FY, L, LA, M, OL, PR, SK, ST, WA, WN3 1 CRE, 1 WAR, 1 any)
South-East, South-West and WalesBA, BH, BN, BS, CF, CT, DT, EX, GL, GU, HP, LD, LL, ME, MK, NP, OX, PO, RG, SL, SO, RH, TN, PL, SA, SN, SP, SY, TA, TQ, TR4
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