To: Employees in the UNITE Manchester Bargaining Unit
In line with employee feedback to the recent union Move Survey asking for peoples’ views on their working environment, UNITE Health & Safety Reps recently toured MAN33 and MAN34 to seek opinions from residents on the two most prominent issues highlighted by the survey
The adopted method was to invite people to place a green or a red dot on to a floor diagram at their desk position, and to comment further to us on any (red dot) concerns.
We are now inviting staff to view the resulting diagrams, now colour-coded to highlight problem areas. We will be displaying these in both the MAN33 and MAN34 restaurants on Thursday 27th September between 12:00 and 14:00. This will also be an opportunity for anyone ‘missed’ previously to add in their dots and have their say. We’re also keen to capture similar feedback concerning ‘public’ areas such as meeting rooms.
Following this session, we will write to the company with the results of the survey.
We believe that involving employees in order to pursue these issues collectively offers the best chance of getting them resolved. If you would like to help with issues in your work area please get in touch with us by replying to this email.
Many people accept that there are circumstances where using agency temps makes sense, particularly to cover short periods of increased workload or to cover for absences. But for years many employers abused agency temps, which was bad for the temps and also undermined the position of permanent directly-employed staff – undercutting their pay and benefits and creating a divided workforce that was in a weaker position to push for a better deal.
Unions were central to the campaign which eventually led to the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) coming into force in 2011, which provide some limited protection for agency temps, as set out in UNITE’s guide.
UNITE is extremely concerned about Fujitsu’s implementation of the AWR – the company’s explanations have been evasive and inconsistent. Reps would welcome agency temps confidentially discussing how they are being treated so that UNITE can build up a clearer picture. Agency temps are fully entitled to join the union and would be well advised to do so.
Fujitsu and the agencies it uses (primary Kelly Services) share responsibility for adherence to AWR, which includes a right to be paid no less than if employed directly. Yet by late August Fujitsu said “The company has had no conversations with third party agencies about pay for their people as we consider that this is a matter for them to agree within their own organisations based on their company performance, the market they operate within and affordability (within their obligations defined in the Agency Workers regulations)”. Kelly’s can only apply the AWR based on information provided by Fujitsu, so this failure on Fujitsu’s part may have contributed to Kelly Services staff reporting not having received a pay rise equivalent to permanent staff.
Agency staff need to organise to protect their rights, and permanent staff should encourage, help and support this to avoid being undercut by agency labour.
Fujitsu has created a new subsidiary called Fujitsu Services (Engineering Services) Limited into which it is recruiting new staff, as well as “offering roles to existing temps and perms. FSESL staff are working alongside Fujitsu Services staff doing the same roles, so the threat of downward pressure on pay and conditions for everyone is very clear.
UNITE has seen examples of FSESL contracts of employment, which include:
This should give us a clue what contracts Fujitsu would like us all on.
By creating this subsidiary, Fujitsu may hope to get round quite a lot of employment legislation for example AWR. Fujitsu also claims they are not entitled to be represented through Fujitsu Voice. But FSESL staff DO have rights. For example, an FSESL employee might be able to bring an Equal Pay claim using a Fujitsu Services employee as the comparator. FSESL staff have the right to be represented in the discussions about setting up a European Works Council giving the reps involved in that rights to communicate with them.
FSESL staff need to organise to protect their rights, and all staff should encourage, help and support this to avoid being undercut.
A few years ago, the company introduced in part of the company, without any consultation, the “IS interim guidelines” – an awful new set of arrangements and payments for overtime, shift, standby and callout. It gradually applied these to increasing numbers of staff – both new staff and to lots of people who moved around the company.
In late 2010, the company rebadged these guidelines as “UK” rather than “IS” and began to use them more widely – again without any consultation, despite having recently set up Fujitsu Voice.
The company agreed to “consult Fujitsu Voice after the event, and to some limits to the speed with which the policy would be rolled out while this was going on. However, this consultation has been very limited and hasnt yet included seeking views from employees.
Initially the company decided not to implement the guidelines in Manchester, which made it harder for UNITE to get the company to engage over them. However, early in 2012 the company told UNITE that it wanted to introduce them in Manchester too.
The company has now decided to engage in negotiations with UNITE over changes to the UK guidelines, and accepts that the following issues are included in those on the table:
Though the negotiations are in Manchester, where UNITE is recognised, the company has made clear that its preference is that any changes to the guidelines should be applied UK-wide. UNITE proposed that at least some of the discussions should therefore take place jointly with PCS and Fujitsu Voice, and the company said they would consider this.
This is therefore an issue over which employees across the country have a stake to ensure a fair deal on Out Of Hours for everyone.
UNITE reps have had lots of queries since the notice on 10th August which discussed the company notice UKI2012-134 headed “HEALTH & SAFETY - ROAD RISK & DRIVING” which asked all employees to complete what the company misleadingly called a “Driving Risk Assessment”.
Members should always work (including driving) in a safe way, and cooperate with the company’s activities to manage Health & Safety. However, the document circulated by the company was not a proper risk assessment and people were merely being asked to sign it rather than carry one out. People should not sign “risk assessments” unless they are confident that they are competent to carry them out and are happy with the contents. Health & Safety reps are taking up the issue with the company and were asked to provide example text members can use if coming under pressure to sign the company document.
Your reps would welcome feedback on this year’s pay review, which differed significantly from previous years.
As well as campaigning over the big collective issues, your reps advise and support members day in day out. For example, one member was recently awarded an additional benefit after raising a grievance based on a history of unfair and inconsistent treatment. The process also resulted in another member being awarded the benefit at the same time as part of the company addressing a discrepancy within this particular grade. The member says:
“With some self-belief and a reasonable foundation from which to base a case, the Union provided me with an initial contact point from which to seek clear direction upon my case. The subsequent support and guidance was invaluable and enabled me to achieve a satisfactory outcome!!”
Most UNITE members are aware of UNITE’s bargaining unit in Manchester, but less aware of the growing number of bargaining units elsewhere in the country.
In April 2011 members of the Distributed Support team at RBS transferred under TUPE to Fujitsu’s EUS. Months later, Fujitsu proposed to “map” them onto Fujitsu’s Professional Community role codes, leading more of the ex-RBS staff to join UNITE and a number to raise issues about the proposed mapping.
One of the members writes:
“Several people within the DS team took Unite union’s advice (either from reps in RBS or Fujitsu) and with the help of this advice and representation in the initial meeting put together a strong case for a reconsideration of the proposed role mapping of TSS3 to a truer reflection of the roles and responsibilities resulting in the grade being revised to a TSS4.
“I would like to thank Fujitsu’s Unite reps for their help and representation throughout this period.
UNITE’s Fujitsu UK Combine Committee is responsible for coordinating the union’s work at national and regional level. The following have now been elected:
John M Walsh
The seat allocation is proportionate to the numbers of members in each region.
If you would be willing to stand for one of the vacancies in London & Eastern, Midlands, South-East, South West or Wales, please get in touch for more information.
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/.
Many employers consider moving work overseas to use workers with lower pay and fewer rights, and many more raise this possibility in an attempt to pressure their staff to accept worsening treatment in the UK.
UNITE members at Capita IT Services won a tremendous victory earlier this month against offshoring plans which have been shelved along with job losses after industrial action was called. In addition, Capita has agreed to negotiations on a new job security framework.
Within Fujitsu, UNITE continues to defend members facing redundancy. The case of one member in Manchester is at a critical stage. Despite written commitments to the contrary just a few weeks earlier, the company proposed to dismiss Pete --- as redundant on 6th September despite not having heard an outstanding grievance – in breach of agreements including the settlement reached in January this year.
Pete’s colleagues in Manchester staged a highly visible protest and voted to ballot for industrial action if the company goes ahead with the redundancy dismissal in breach of the agreements. The company has postponed the dismissal several times, and Pete is currently safe for another week.
UNITE believes there are plenty of jobs the company could and should offer Pete and reps are working hard to help Pete find an acceptable resolution.
Members around the company continue to raise concerns with reps about colleagues who suddenly disappear, presumably under “Compromise Agreements”. If the possibility of a Compromise Agreement (CA) arises for you, it is important that you seek advice from your UNITE rep promptly and before signing anything. Many members have reported being told they are not allowed to do this – which is completely untrue.
The Joint Working Group meets monthly to share information, discuss issues that affect employees in the north-west who are represented by UNITE, and to manage the engagement between UNITE and Fujitsu over the full range of issues.
The most recent meeting took place on 3rd September, and the agenda included major items on redundancy and redeployment, diversity and inclusion, and employee wellbeing.
Minutes of the meeting will be published when agreed. Previous minutes, including those from the meeting on 30th July, can be found here on CafeVIK. Apologies to those who had problems with the link included in our previous update.
If you have views on the subjects under discussion, we would welcome your input.
Joint Working Group Members
|Company Rep||Description||UNITE Rep||Description|
|Stuart Broadbelt (chair / vice-chair)||Director, Supply & Lifecycle Services||Lynne Hodge (chair / vice-chair)||MAN33, TSS, Hosting & Network Services|
|Jenny OReilly (joint secretary)||HR Consultant||Ian Allinson (joint secretary)||MAN34, CSA, Hosting & Network Services|
|Ellie Peter||HR Business Partner||Isabel Hay||WAR08, DEV, Hosting & Network Services|
|Keith Clifton||Head of HNO UK Shared Services||Maurice Edwards||MAN23, OPS, Hosting & Network Services|
|Jane Jacques||VME Centre of Excellence Manager||Pauline Bradburn||MAN34, TSS, End User Services|
|Jason Fowler||HR Service Delivery Director||Phil Tepper||MAN34, PJM, Hosting & Network Services|
|Richard Batty||Head of Service Desks||Note: Unite reps on the JWG also have deputies|
All employees in the bargaining unit should have received the notification from the company of their 2012 pay rise in an email from the “HR Pay Manager” mailbox around 21st August. As usual, the pay deal in Manchester is better than the standard one elsewhere, for example everyone with a PAC rating better than a ‘U’ should have received a pay 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.
As an additional aid for UNITE members only, reps will be available to help members check their pay rises between 2pm and 4pm on Thursday 13th September. Please contact us to book a 10-minute appointment. When you come please bring along the information needed to check your pay rise:
Much of this information is available from Your HR. You may find it convenient to print off and bring along the email from the “HR Pay Manager” mailbox that informed you of your pay rise.
The agreement requires you to submit any query about your pay review in writing within two months of being notified of your rise, otherwise you will generally lose the right to any additional pay increase. To do this, you should submit a query to email@example.com, copying firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 youre 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:
Thanks to everyone who attended today’s members meeting. Below is a summary of the main points.
Compulsory Redundancy, Breach of Agreements
Since the protest and Joint Working Group on Monday the company has confirmed that it is delaying Pete ----’s dismissal slightly, to allow a hiring manager to consider other applicants for a role Pete has already been interviewed for. UNITE has welcomed the delay but pointed out that is completely unnecessary – the company can (and in other cases has) ring fence jobs for people at risk of redundancy.
In discussion, the contrast was made with the way the company is handling the Service Desk Solutions (SDS) redeployments, where the company is proactively identifying jobs for people, and even putting undue pressure on people to accept alternative work by making the misleading suggestion that refusal of jobs would mean people had dismissed themselves.
Members unanimously agreed the following motion:
We note that the company currently plans to dismiss Pete ---- through Compulsory Redundancy, despite this being in breach of our agreements and jobs being available which it has yet to offer Pete.
Fujitsu should be proud of the record that nobody from the Manchester bargaining unit has been forced out through redundancy without their consent since the Annex 1 agreement was introduced in 2007. This is a demonstration of the Corporate Social Responsibility to which the company says it aspires.
We note that if the company went ahead with Pete’s dismissal without dealing with the outstanding grievance, this would breach our Recognition Agreement, Annex 1 and the agreement reached in January 2012 which clearly states “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”.
We call on the company to offer Pete suitable alternative work, or if they believe there is a genuine reason why that is not possible to lift the threat of dismissal and try to find a resolution through discussion with UNITE through the agreed procedures.
If the company goes ahead with dismissing Pete in breach of our agreements, we resolve to instruct our reps to organise an industrial action ballot and to campaign for the biggest possible “yes vote.
Please look out for an email from UNITE in the next few days asking you to confirm or correct your membership details. Please respond to this as quickly as possible as this is vital to enable any ballot to be organised.
Members raised the question of when UNITE should go to the media if the issue is not resolved promptly.
Out Of Hours terms
Members discussed recent developments in the discussions with the company about Out Of Hours (overtime, shift, standby, callout) terms, as set out in the email yesterday, and discussed possible responses.
Members decided to:
Engage with the company at stage 1 to see if changes can be made to make the guidelines acceptable. Engage employees outside Manchester in campaigning for changes to the guidelines.
Driving Risk Assessment
Health & Safety reps gave an update following a number of queries from members.
Members should always work (including driving) in a safe way, and cooperate with the companys activities to manage Health & Safety. However, the document circulated by the company was not a proper risk assessment and people were merely being asked to sign it rather than carry one out. People should not sign risk assessments unless they are confident that they are competent to carry them out and are happy with the contents. Health & Safety reps are taking up the issue with the company and were asked to provide example text members can use if coming under pressure to sign the company document.
The company now recognises that mental health issues, including stress, are the single biggest cause of sickness absence. The Health & Safety Executives (HSE) definition of work-related stress is The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.
Unfortunately the companys approach is to focus on support for those already suffering mental health problems, rather than complementing this with work to tackle the causes of stress.
UNITE asked the company to work together to apply the HSE stress indicator tool in line with the official recommendations, but the company has refused. Nonetheless, UNITE is encouraging all Fujitsu staff to complete this short confidential survey on CafeVIK in order to establish an objective view of the organisational causes of stress in Fujitsu.
20 October TUC demonstration
The TUC is organising a major national demonstration against cuts and austerity in London on 20th October. UNITE is providing free train transport from Greater Manchester to the demonstration please get in touch if you want to book seats now.
For those (e.g. many students, unemployed people) who dont have access to union transport such as UNITEs train, the local TUCs are organising coaches and have launched an appeal to raise £15K to ensure the tickets are affordable. A collection towards this transport raised £33.40.
There will also be a rally in Greater Manchester on Wednesday 19th September to build for the demonstration details are on the Manchester TUC web site.
Don’t forget the meeting tomorrow for all UNITE members in the Manchester bargaining unit:
1-2:30pm, Wednesday 5th September
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.
Compulsory Redundancy, Breach of Agreements
Thanks to all the members and non-members who took part in yesterday’s protest calling for P--- to be redeployed and for the company to honour its agreements. Our web site has background to the case.
[the original notice included details of motion for discussion]
Out Of Hours terms
Earlier in the year, Fujitsu began consulting UNITE over a proposal to introduce the UK interim additional hours guidelines (covering overtime, shift, standby and callout) to the bargaining unit for new employees and for existing employees under certain circumstances.
A members meeting on 24th February discussed the company proposal, identified the following objectives:
Members discussed options for how best to achieve those objectives and unanimously chose harmonisation:
At a stage 1 meeting in April, the company did not agree with UNITEs preferred approach, but both parties agreed to jointly explore both approaches to see if agreement could be reached. The company has now decided that it is no longer willing to explore harmonisation.
The company now proposes that negotiations continue on the basis of changes to the UK guidelines, and accepts that the following issues would be included in those on the table if members want reps to engage in this process:
The companys preference is that any changes to the guidelines should be applied UK-wide. UNITE proposed that at least some of the discussions should therefore take place jointly with PCS and Fujitsu Voice, and the company said they would consider this.
At the meeting, members will be asked to decide between two responses to the companys new position:
In the last few days a very serious situation has developed. 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:
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.
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.
For further information, see:
The latest Manchester "one per desk" newsletter is available here on the CafeVIK intranet.
The company plans to make Pete --- redundant this Thursday.
This would be the first person in the Manchester bargaining unit forced out through redundancy since the new agreements were reached in 2007. The dismissal would be in breach of the agreement signed in January this year, as well as our Recognition Agreement and Annex 1.
If the company gets away with dismissing Pete in this way – who will be next?
Please join the lunchtime protest which will call on the company to:
Please encourage colleagues to come too – whether they are union members or not – this affects us all.
For more information see: