August 31, 2012

Manchester: Compulsory Redundancy, breach of agreements, urgent action

In the last few days a very serious situation has developed, over which urgent action is required – see below for what you can do.

UNITE has been informed that Fujitsu intends to dismiss Pete --- as redundant on Thursday (6th September).  This is despite being totally unnecessary and in breach of our Recognition Agreement, Annex 1 and the settlement agreed on 20th January 2012.

As well as being a very serious situation for Pete personally, it is very serious for all of us:

  • If we allow the company to dismiss Pete in breach of agreements, who will be next?
  • This would be the first time an employee in the Manchester bargaining unit had been forced out through redundancy without their consent since the agreements were introduced in 2007.

UNITE reps have escalated the issue to director level with the company and made clear the gravity of the situation.  There are jobs available that Pete has applied for – all the company needs to do is offer him a suitable job.

Protest

UNITE is inviting all staff to join a lunchtime protest calling for the threat of dismissal to be lifted and for the company to honour its agreements:

12:00 Monday 3rd September
Meet in MAN34 reception

This is very short notice so please do everything you can to spread the word and ensure a good attendance.  It’s what you’d want if you were Pete’s position and by helping prevent Pete’s dismissal you can help avoid such treatment becoming the norm and affecting you later.

Members’ Meeting

UNITE is holding a meeting for all members in the Manchester bargaining unit:

1-2:30pm, Wednesday 5th September
MAN35 canteen

The main purpose of the members’ meeting will be to decide whether to ballot for industrial action if the company goes ahead and dismisses Pete.  Please do your utmost to attend and have your say – a big turnout makes it more likely that the company will listen to reason and step back from dismissing Pete.

Members are entitled to attend the meeting in work time.  If your manager might need to arrange cover for while you attend, it is important that you ask them now to confirm your release.  If you have any difficulty securing release, please contact your rep immediately.  If you leave this until the last minute, reps may not be able to resolve this for you.  Service Desks management are asking that people request release by the end of Monday wherever possible.

The meeting will also discuss an update on negotiations with the company over Out Of Hours terms following a meeting taking place on Monday.

Further background on Pete’s case

Pete was in the scope of the Business & Application Services (BAS) redundancies earlier in the year.  Despite poor handling of the redundancies by the company, all the other job losses in Manchester were handled without forcing anyone out who wanted to stay.

UNITE complained about the handling of the BAS and Business Operations redundancies at the time, including writing two letters to Duncan Tait setting out the issues including breaches of our Annex 1 agreement.  For some time the company refused to meet UNITE to try to resolve the issues.  A members’ meeting on 31st May passed the following motion:

Motion 3: Redundancies

We note that the company has handled the redundancies in Business Operations and Business & Application Services poorly, including breaking Annex 1 and the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) in a number of important regards. Despite UNITE raising problems through the redundancy forums, through the Joint Working Group and directly with Duncan Tait, the company failed to address them.

We note that there are currently two employees in the Manchester bargaining unit at risk of Compulsory Redundancy in the near future and who are asking to stay. If these redundancies went ahead, they would be the first people in the bargaining unit forced out without their consent since Annex 1 was introduced in 2007.

We welcome the fact that Fujitsu has finally arranged to discuss the situation with UNITE tomorrow morning and hope that outcomes acceptable to both employees can be found.

If they are not, we instruct our reps to place the breaches of agreements and handling of these redundancy cases into the formal procedure for resolving collective issues.

Following the conference call on 1st June the company were still planning to dismiss Pete on 7th June, so reps implemented the decision of the members’ meeting and placed the issue into the collective issues procedure on 6th June.

The company confirmed to UNITE that it would honour the status quo (which means not going ahead with issuing notice of dismissal etc) while the grievance was heard, which is why the recent news that it plans to go ahead with dismissal has come as such an unpleasant surprise.

The company delayed holding the stage 1 grievance meeting, and then said it needed more time to respond following the meeting – it still hasn’t responded.  The company has strung out the grievance process and now plans to dismiss Pete rather than making a serious attempt to resolve the issues through dialogue.

Our Recognition Agreement says:

'The Company and the Union agree to refrain from taking any other action in relation to the contested issues until the procedure outlined in 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 makes it even more explicit:

'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.'

Of course this issue of “status quo” was central to the dispute resolved in January this year, following issues where the company sought to impose detrimental change to Out Of Hours payments.'; Point 3 of the agreement reads:
'Both parties want a better future relationship which is built on trust, and are committed to honouring all agreements until any changes are agreed, including in respect of the "status quo" For clarity Status Quo means: That status quo will be maintained on all matters except where jointly agreed that it is in both parties interest to move more quickly. If the company is concerned that the status quo is being abused, or that restoring the status quo could have a disproportionate impact on the business, the company will raise this with UNITE with a view to reaching a resolution.'

The company has a track record of attempting to break our agreements, but members have a track record of successfully defending them when necessary.  It is vital that we maintain that record now and stop Pete's dismissal.

Pete has a good work record at Fujitsu, and could readily be redeployed.  Under our agreements employees at risk of redundancy are supposed to get priority for other jobs – in line with the company’s legal responsibility to seek, and where possible offer, suitable alternative work to those at risk of redundancy.

Yet jobs Pete has applied for have been given to employees not at risk, in one case before Pete was even given an interview.

This situation is easy to resolve – Fujitsu should do the right thing and offer Pete a suitable alternative job now and maintain the excellent record of avoiding forced redundancies in Manchester.


Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2012

Compulsory Redundancy, Breach of Agreements, Urgent Action (Manchester)

In the last few days a very serious situation has developed, over which urgent action is required – see below for what you can do.


UNITE has been informed that Fujitsu intends to dismiss Pete F---- as redundant on Thursday (6th September). This is despite being totally unnecessary and in breach of our Recognition Agreement, Annex 1 and the settlement agreed on 20th January 2012.


As well as being a very serious situation for Pete personally, it is very serious for all of us:


  1. If we allow the company to dismiss Pete in breach of agreements, who will be next?

  2. This would be the first time an employee in the Manchester bargaining unit had been forced out through redundancy without their consent since the agreements were introduced in 2007.


UNITE reps have escalated the issue to director level with the company and made clear the gravity of the situation. There are jobs available that Pete has applied for – all the company needs to do is offer him a suitable job.


Protest
UNITE is inviting all staff to join a lunchtime protest calling for the threat of dismissal to be lifted and for the company to honour its agreements:
12:00 Monday 3rd September
Meet in MAN34 reception



This is very short notice so please do everything you can to spread the word and ensure a good attendance. It’s what you’d want if you were Pete’s position and by helping prevent Pete’s dismissal you can help avoid such treatment becoming the norm and affecting you later.


Members’ Meeting
UNITE is holding a meeting for all members in the Manchester bargaining unit:
1-2:30pm, Wednesday 5th September
MAN35 canteen



The main purpose of the members’ meeting will be to decide whether to ballot for industrial action if the company goes ahead and dismisses Pete. Please do your utmost to attend and have your say – a big turnout makes it more likely that the company will listen to reason and step back from dismissing Pete.


Members are entitled to attend the meeting in work time. If your manager might need to arrange cover for while you attend, it is important that you ask them now to confirm your release. If you have any difficulty securing release, please contact your rep immediately. If you leave this until the last minute, reps may not be able to resolve this for you. Service Desks management are asking that people request release by the end of Monday wherever possible.


The meeting will also discuss an update on negotiations with the company over Out Of Hours terms following a meeting taking place on Monday.


Further background on Pete’s case
Pete was in the scope of the Business & Application Services (BAS) redundancies earlier in the year. Despite poor handling of the redundancies by the company, all the other job losses in Manchester were handled without forcing anyone out who wanted to stay.


UNITE complained about the handling of the BAS and Business Operations redundancies at the time, including writing two letters to Duncan Tait setting out the issues including breaches of our Annex 1 agreement. For some time the company refused to meet UNITE to try to resolve the issues. A members’ meeting on 31st May passed the following motion:



Motion 3: Redundancies
We note that the company has handled the redundancies in Business Operations and Business & Application Services poorly, including breaking Annex 1 and the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) in a number of important regards. Despite UNITE raising problems through the redundancy forums, through the Joint Working Group and directly with Duncan Tait, the company failed to address them.


We note that there are currently two employees in the Manchester bargaining unit at risk of Compulsory Redundancy in the near future and who are asking to stay. If these redundancies went ahead, they would be the first people in the bargaining unit forced out without their consent since Annex 1 was introduced in 2007.


We welcome the fact that Fujitsu has finally arranged to discuss the situation with UNITE tomorrow morning and hope that outcomes acceptable to both employees can be found.


If they are not, we instruct our reps to place the breaches of agreements and handling of these redundancy cases into the formal procedure for resolving collective issues.



Following the conference call on 1st June the company were still planning to dismiss Pete on 7th June, so reps implemented the decision of the members’ meeting and placed the issue into the collective issues procedure on 6th June.


The company confirmed to UNITE that it would honour the status quo (which means not going ahead with issuing notice of dismissal etc) while the grievance was heard, which is why the recent news that it plans to go ahead with dismissal has come as such an unpleasant surprise.


The company delayed holding the stage 1 grievance meeting, and then said it needed more time to respond following the meeting – it still hasn’t responded. The company has strung out the grievance process and now plans to dismiss Pete rather than making a serious attempt to resolve the issues through dialogue.


Our Recognition Agreement says:
“The Company and the Union agree to refrain from taking any other action in relation to the contested issues until the procedure outlined in 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 makes it even more explicit:
“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.”


Of course this issue of “status quo” was central to the dispute resolved in January this year, following issues where the company sought to impose detrimental change to Out Of Hours payments. Point 3 of the agreement reads:
“Both parties want a better future relationship which is built on trust, and are committed to honouring all agreements until any changes are agreed, including in respect of the “status quo”. For clarity Status Quo means: That status quo will be maintained on all matters except where jointly agreed that it is in both parties interest to move more quickly. If the company is concerned that the status quo is being abused, or that restoring the status quo could have a disproportionate impact on the business, the company will raise this with UNITE with a view to reaching a resolution.”


The company has a track record of attempting to break our agreements, but members have a track record of successfully defending them when necessary. It is vital that we maintain that record now and stop Pete’s dismissal.


Pete has a good work record at Fujitsu, and could readily be redeployed. Under our agreements employees at risk of redundancy are supposed to get priority for other jobs – in line with the company’s legal responsibility to seek, and where possible offer, suitable alternative work to those at risk of redundancy.
Yet jobs Pete has applied for have been given to employees not at risk, in one case before Pete was even given an interview.


This situation is easy to resolve – Fujitsu should do the right thing and offer Pete a suitable alternative job now and maintain the excellent record of avoiding forced redundancies in Manchester.

Posted by IA at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2012

Manchester: Update on Pay

Employees have now started receiving confirmation of their 2012 pay rises.  Once again, the pay deal in Manchester is better than the standard one elsewhere, for example everyone with a PAC rating better than ‘U’ will get a rise.
 
It is important that you check that the rise you have been given is no lower than that guaranteed by the Manchester Pay and Benefits Agreement.  To help you do this, UNITE has produced a spreadsheet checker tool and made it available on CafeVIK here.

The agreement requires you to submit any query about your pay review in writing within two months of being notified, otherwise you will generally lose the right to any additional pay increase.  [the original notice included details of where to send your query] You should do this no later than two months after the date you received your pay review letter. This deadline should be no earlier than 21st October 2012, but please submit your query as soon as possible.

Example query (enter the appropriate figures where highlighted):

I do not believe that my pay rise has been calculated in accordance with the Manchester Pay And Benefits Agreement.  In accordance with section 16 of that agreement I am registering a query now to ensure I do not lose my right to my pay rise being corrected.

I have been awarded a pay rise of £amount taking my salary to £;amount. According to the Agreement I believe my rise should have been £amount taking my salary to £amount

In previous years there have been cases of employees receiving lower pay rises than they were entitled to, and UNITE has been successful in helping members resolve these, including back-pay.

If you’re not already a UNITE member please join.  The more members we have, the better our prospects will be of being able to negotiate further improvements around pay and conditions.

UNITE Manchester pay & benefits team:
Ian Allinson
Pauline Bradburn
Lynne Hodge
Mark Norman
Phil Tepper

Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2012

Road Risk

On 1 August company notice UKI2012-134 headed “HEALTH & SAFETY - ROAD RISK & DRIVING” asked all employees to complete what they misleadingly called your “Driving Risk Assessment”.

Rather than trying to promote road safety, the main function of the document seems to be to push liability for any accident you might have onto yourself instead of the company if you signed it.

Your employer (not you) has a legal duty to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments – this is a key tool for identifying and managing risks that we are exposed to at work.  The company must ensure that such risk assessments are carried out by people competent to do so and must consult employees over the appointment of those competent persons. (Of course, you also have a responsibility to work safely and to drive safely).

Instead Fujitsu has issued this announcement without any consultation, trying to get employees to sign a document to say that they have assessed their own risks.  There’s not even any space on the document for you to do a proper risk assessment if you had been trained to do so – it’s all filled in for you.  All they want is your signature to take the blame if something goes wrong.

And there’s plenty wrong with what’s been filled in, for example:

  • Under “fatigue while driving” it suggests that you should only consider overnight accommodation if driving for more than 4-6 hours in addition to a normal working day.
  • There’s no mention of excessive working hours as a factor in fatigue.
  • The hazards listed don’t include such things as other drivers or snow
  • The advice on mobile phones has been downgraded to the legal minimum (only to be used when they are held within a permanently fixed hands-free kit) to keep us working while driving, despite strong scientific evidence that use of a hands free kit doesn’t significantly reduce the risk

Perhaps the clincher for many people will be the requirement that “Weekly check of tyres, tyre pressures, and water and oil levels must be undertaken”.  How many people do that?  If you signed the document and then had an accident after having failed to do the weekly checks, who do you think would be blamed?  If weekly checks really are a requirement, is Fujitsu going to employ people to do the checks for us or allow us to carry them out in work time?

Why doesn’t Fujitsu act to protect our Health and Safety instead of promoting a blame culture and trying to shift its legal responsibilities onto us instead?

Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

20th October Demonstration

The TUC has called a national demonstration for “a future that works” against the government’s austerity and cuts for 20th October in London.

UNITE is organising transport from around the country – please book places (details here) as soon as possible.  The same web page also has more information about the demo and materials you can download.  If you’re going it would also be helpful to let your reps know so that members from Fujitsu can try to meet up.

The TUC also has a web site about the demo here: http://afuturethatworks.org/.

Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

Elections

Nominations for UNITE reps in the South-East, South-West and Wales region closed yesterday, with no members opposing the three candidates who had come forward, so they are elected unopposed:

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

Joe, Brian and Jason join Chris Forrest and Jim Anderson in Basingstoke as the team for the region.

Combine Committee Elections

Due to the holiday season the period for nominations to your Combine Committee is being extended to Tuesday 28th August.
Our “Combine Committee” 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

If you are willing to stand for election to the Combine Committee, please email by Tuesday 28th 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

Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

Out Of Hours

Our newsletter on 27th July included a warning about the pilot of the “Your Overtime” system for overtime, standby and callout.

Since then, the company has given a demonstration of the pilot system to UNITE reps in Manchester and Warrington and the pilot has begun, involving about 90 people across the UK.

In addition to the warnings in our previous newsletter, UNITE is now picking up reports from some areas that instead of the system just being used to process authorisation, claims and payments, its introduction is being used as a pretext to try to change (downwards) the terms under which some employees are being paid, which is completely unacceptable.

If this issue affects you, please contact your local UNITE rep immediately.

For the full explanation, please refer to our last newsletter, but it’s worth repeating the key advice:

Do not assume that information you are given by the company about your OOH terms is correct.  And 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
Posted by NA at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)