December 19, 2005

Amicus subs

From 1 January 2006 the main Amicus subs rate will be increased to £9.75 a month. For most members in Fujitsu this increase takes the subs rate back to what we paid in 2001, since which we had several years with no increase, as well as the decrease when the merger to form Amicus took effect. The extra subscriptions will help the union provide effective support and representation for members, as well as funding the introduction of a new reduced rate for the lowest paid.

Union subs represent extraordinarily good value - the free legal representation alone recovers tens of millions of pounds a year for members - almost as much as the union's entire subs income. For an overview of membership benefits, see:

The vast majority of members in Fujitsu pay by Direct Debit or through payroll ("checkoff") shouldn't need to take any action. Anyone paying by cheque will need to update their payments accordingly.

Posted by IMH at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Build the union – and win a prize

Amicus is now running a recruitment competition for Fujitsu Services employees in the UK and Ireland. You can enter by joining Amicus, or by recruiting colleagues - and the more colleagues you recruit, the more chances you have to win.

Prizes already available include a £300 holiday voucher and a number of cash prizes.

To enter, the new applicant must join on the form available from the “Amicus The Union” community on CafeVIK, or at They should fill in the name of the person who recruited them on the form, so the recruiter is entered too.

Simply return the application form to the address on it before the competition closes. Full rules are available at:

We know that many employees say they haven't got round to joining yet - what better time than now?

Posted by IMH at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Winding down to retirement

In 1977 the company introduced a ‘pre-retirement wind down’ scheme, to ease the transition into retirement of staff approaching their contractual retirement date. Under this scheme, employees could, for the last six months of their working life, work only three days per week, and for the six months prior to that, could work only 4 days per week. The employee would continue to be paid in full during this time.

This scheme was considered to be a contractual entitlement for everyone who had completed 5 years service.

In recent years, the company has claimed that the scheme is ‘only a policy’, and entitlement is at company discretion. Furthermore, HR argue that the entitlement is for only one pre-retirement day per week for the whole of the wind down period instead of the two days for the last six months of the original scheme. This is a loss of 26 days of pre-retirement leisure time for workers who have served the company over many years. HR are unable to say when the alleged change took place, and are unable to show any evidence of the consultation that would have been needed to effect a contractual change.

As part of its (generally welcome) plans to offer a standardised retirement date of age 65 for all staff, HR are revisiting this policy, as agreed in the 2005 pay deal negotiated by Amicus in Manchester.

Firstly, the company’s claim that wind-down is an HR policy, rather than a contractual right would mean that any manager could withdraw the right to participate from any individual, as the company insists that all of its policies are ‘at the company’s discretion’.

Secondly, the company are proposing that only one pre-retirement day per week will be allowed for the whole of the wind down period.

Thirdly, HR are proposing a new eligibility requirement, such that only employees with 12 years service, instead of 5, will receive the full benefit of the scheme.

On the brighter side, the proposed changes would include the ability for employees who choose to retire early (but not before 60) to take advantage of the scheme by giving 12 months notice of their planned retirement.

While welcoming the increased flexibility, Amicus believes that the reduced benefit and more onerous eligibility requirements would constitute a detrimental change to the contract of employment. As HR are unable to produce evidence that the change from contractual to non-contractual really took place, your reps also believe that this contractual entitlement applies to all employees irrespective of their date of joining.

The company’s focus appears to have moved off resolving the issue and we don’t know when the company intends to announce specific proposals.

If you have concerns about the current interpretation of the scheme or about the proposed changes, please contact Amicus reps Robert Williams (Wilf), Dave Francis, Joe Harrison or Alasdair Lewis.

Posted by IMH at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Changes to Terms & Conditions

The issue of changes to Terms & Conditions (Ts & Cs) pops up its ugly head from time to time. Sometimes it's because a group of employees will be TUPEing out of Fujitsu, and need to be clear what their current Ts & Cs are. Sometimes it's because the company wants to "harmonise" contracts for a group. Sometimes managers just seem to make changes on a whim.

The report from the Amicus group in Manchester on the 13th illustrated how beneficial it can be to discuss any potential changes formally. The earlier in the process you discuss the situation with your rep, the better your changes of influencing the outcome.

What is your contract?

The first step is to know what your current contract is.

Legally, your contract is the whole agreement between you and your employer. It might include a piece of paper you signed when you first took a job here, various letters telling you your pay had increased, job had changed etc, collective agreements, company policies, and even points that are not written down anywhere such as "custom and practice". That's all very well, but it means it's hard to work out exactly what your contract is. Here are some suggestions that you can do today to prepare for the future:

1) Keep key documents together in a safe place. That includes any letters from the company which you think might be a change to your contract, benefit statements etc, along with evidence of any custom and practice that you might need in the future.

2) Print off and keep a copy of all your details on Self Service (

3) All employees have a legal right (under the Employment Rights Act 1996) to a written statement of particulars of the principal terms of their contract. If you don’t have these terms clearly documented, it can be useful to ask the company for an up-to-date statement of this kind.

4) You can ask to see your personnel file, but you may be charged a small fee for this.

If you do get information from the company, it is important to CHECK IT. Experience shows that the company's records are far from reliable - many were lost in fires or the bombing of the Arndale Centre, and many key documents were never filed in the first place. If you disagree with what you're told, CHALLENGE IT. Don't ignore it – if you don’t challenge it immediately, you may find it harder to challenge later.

How contracts get changed

A very common way for contracts to change is that a manager asks you to do something, and you do it. If you work under a "new arrangement" for a while without formally lodging your objection, you may find that your contract has changed as a result. Similarly, if you are sent a letter informing you of a change, it is not necessary for you to sign anything for that to result in a change to your contract - merely failing to object may be enough.

The key point is that if anything happens that you think may change your contract, seek advice from Amicus immediately. Any delay may weaken your case.

When you are considering a contract change, don't just think about what it means now - think about what it could mean if you move job or circumstances change. For example, you might be happy to swap an entitlement to a good overtime rate for a bonus while you're not working overtime, but might feel less happy if you're having to work long hours later.

Posted by IMH at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2005

Out Of Hours payments in IS-Compute Services, Manchester

Today’s newsletter reports the positive outcome to a grievance about standby payments which Amicus has been pursuing on behalf of employees in IS-Compute Services.

The outcome should result in significant reductions in workload and/or significant increases in pay for a significant number of employees.

Sadly employees outside the Manchester collective bargaining unit cannot be covered by our negotiations, so they will need to raise individual grievances if they suffer the same problems.

As the company is conducting a general review of out of hours payment entitlements, every member needs to be alert to proposed changes.

One of the lessons for the future is that it is much easier for Amicus to resolve problems if members draw them to the attention of the union when they first occur.


Traditionally we had two types of “out of hours cover” (apart from shifts and overtime):

1. Telephone Stand-By (TSB) involved you guaranteeing to be available, and being paid (one third of the normal rate) while you waited.

2. Callout meant they could ask you to work but you didn’t guarantee to be available. You got nothing for this, but if you got called out you got a minimum overtime payment to make it your while.

These policies were set out in the Unsocial Hours Policy (UHP), which Amicus has put on the web here:

In 1993 the “Systems Services” part of ICL decided to cut the TSB payments defined under the UHP and the Engineers’ “Standard Conditions of Service” (SCS). Instead of paying 1/3 of the rate for the time of day, the company introduced fixed £ rates.

This change was contested by employees, who did manage to increase the rates.

With the backing of the union, the employees also won a case over the lack of notice of the change. The Employment Appeal Tribunal reference is “EAT/1136/94, case number 39545/93 and others”.

The revised rates (only for certain employees) were:

  • £2.70 for 8am-6pm Mon-Fri

  • £4.25 for 6pm Fri – 8am Mon

  • £3.50 for all other times

These rates are often known as "the Palk rates" after the manager who introduced them. If called out, overtime was still paid.

Over the years since, some managers have operated a range of other (generally less favourable) arrangements without consulting the union, despite this being required by our union recognition agreement.

The old saying that “the price of good terms and conditions is eternal vigilance” holds true. That means that it is in the interests of every employee to check with the union if changes are suggested.

The grievance Amicus raised

From: Francis Dave
Sent: 09 November 2005 15:51
Subject: AMICUS: Standby payments in IS-Compute Services

We’re writing to express our concerns about out of hours arrangements in your area, and to ask you for a meeting to discuss them. This should be under stage 1 of our agreed procedure for resolving collective issues ( We are looking for overtime payments to be restored for people called out while on standby.

Our understanding is that the employees in your area have been working under a variety of arrangements for standby. These appear to have been introduced in conflict with the Unsocial Hours Policy (which says there can be no local variations). The one time that the company sought to make a change to the UHP (to introduce fixed rates of £2.70, £3.50 and £4.25 for standby from early 1993 for certain employees in part of ICL UK) resulted in successful tribunal claims. The various arrangements in operation have also been introduced without the consultation through the union required by our recognition agreement. We are sceptical about the validity of many of these arrangements.

Many of the employees are paid a 12.5% allowance for being on a standby rota.

More intensive rotas
Employees are expressing concern that the amount of cover they are asked to provide is being increased with no matching increase to the allowance.

Stopping paying overtime

Some of the employees being paid a 12.5% allowance tell us that you have stopped paying overtime at all while they are on standby, claiming that payment for their work is already included in the 12.5%. In a letter, it refers to "Fujitsu policy" in this area. I have a paper copy of this letter.

Please can you provide us with a copy of this policy to enable an informed discussion. We would also like to know how and when it was introduced..

The concern about removal of overtime during standby extends beyond the group who have already had it withdrawn. Employees worry that if this is now a "Fujitsu policy" then it will soon be applied elsewhere, to their detriment.

Increased work while on standby

Employees who were told that the allowance would now include payment for their work are becoming more concerned about it, as they perceive that changes in working practices may increase the amount of work they are required to do whilst on standby. For example, changing from only being called out for severity one calls to a wider range of calls could significantly increase the unpaid work you are asking employees to do.

Incorrect payment rate

The change to the UHP for certain employees in 1993 introduced payments rates of £2.70, £3.50 and £4.25 for standby at times which would be paid at 1.33 time, 1.5 time and 2 time respectively. Some employees are being instructed to only claim at £2.70 per hour regardless of the time of day or day of the week.

We are concerned that these changes are to the detriment of employees, and are being implemented in breach of the requirements for consultation under our recognition agreement. If they have not been properly introduced they could leave the company open to claims for unlawful deduction of wages or breach of contract. We would much prefer to resolve such issues internally and meet the needs of the company and its employees. We look forward to meeting you and reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

Dave Francis

Amicus rep

The outcome
This is the agreed report of the meeting (signed by all present). We’re sure you’ll agree it was worth members raising the issues through Amicus – a lesson for all employees.

From: Allinson Ian
Sent: 13 December 2005 12:08
Subject: AMICUS: Notes of IS-Compute Services standby payments grievance meeting, 13th December 2005

This note AGREED in the meeting

The grievance was submitted on 9th November. This was the first meeting.


Dave Francis, Ian Allinson (Amicus)

[names removed] (Fujitsu Services)

Amicus explained the grievance. They felt that the company had tried to introduce changes without going through a proper process. The grievance was intended to allow the issues to be resolved.

Amicus felt unhappy that the company had introduced further changes on the issues in the grievance before hearing the grievance.

[manager's name removed] explained that the changes were part of an effort to harmonise payment arrangements within the teams.

[manager's name removed] believed that changes since the grievance was submitted were ones that were “in the pipeline” already.

[manager's name removed] confirmed that there was no other “policy” except the UHP, but some individuals had signed up to specific other arrangements.

The company promised that from today:

  1. Further changes would be stopped (unless discussed with Amicus first)

  2. People who had been paid GBP2.70 per hour regardless of the time their standby was worked would be paid at the correct rate (based on the UHP times)

  3. For people who were getting the 12.5% allowance, there was some confusion about whether this was shift pay or standby. If shift pay, the pay must cover the shift worked. If standby, they will be paid overtime when called out in addition to the standby rate.

  4. Where standby allowance (e.g. 12.5%) no longer reflects the rota according to the UHP formula, they will be paid according to the correct rate

It was agreed that Working Time Directive requirements for breaks must be taken into account when drawing up rotas and standby arrangements. These arrangements would need to be reviewed if employees felt the workload was excessive. Employees should discuss such concerns with their management and with the Amicus Health & Safety reps.

It was agreed that the company should come back to Amicus to discuss the outcome of their research into out of hours payment systems.

[manager's name removed] agreed to provide the URL for the Unsocial Hours Policy on CafeVIK.

[manager's name removed] agreed to provide details (where he had them) of any agreements with groups of individual employees within the recognition area.

The company now has to put in place the measures to implement this.

Members in IS-Compute Services within the bargaining unit can help to speed up this process and ensure the outcome is correct by calculating what their correct standby allowance should be and claiming the correct overtime from now on.

This is another good example of the benefits of union membership, as well as the benefits of being part of the collective bargaining unit.

Posted by IA at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2005

Outcome of today's negotiations in Manchester

Your reps were in talks with Fujitsu today to try to find a way to quickly reach new agreements that will resolve a series of extremely important and long-running issues. Below is a copy of the agreed outcomes.

By Tuesday (13th December) the company have promised to give us possible dates for a final day of talks between 9th and 20th January. The main talks will be taking place 3rd-6th January.

The Amicus negotiating team would welcome the views of members on the issues on the table for 3rd-6th January.

The meeting took place in accordance with the agreement from the works conference on 30th November: “a one-day meeting to go through the draft agreements provided by the union in the letter and identify which issues (whether covered in those documents or not) would require further discussion to reach agreement.”

The letter and attachments which formed the reference documents for the meeting are on CafeVIK here:

1. Identifying issues for the January agenda

Company identified the following issues:

  1. individual choice in whether to be included in the bargaining unit.
  2. want to change what issues can/must be consulted or negotiated on. Want to remove items like TUPE which are statutory anyway. Want to restrict negotiation to certain topics.
  3. what circumstances can individuals be represented by the union? Document currently says:

    9.2 Occasionally union members within the scope of this agreement may ask Amicus to provide a local representative or full time official to accompany them in particular meetings. This will include meetings defined by Fujitsu’s HR policies, employment legislation, and meetings where the member has a reasonable expectation that significant matters of unsatisfactory performance, capability or conduct of either the member or their manager are to be discussed. Where the meeting relates specifically to the individual, and Amicus agrees to accompany the member, the Company will respect the wishes of that individual.

  4. company suggest more reps spending less time on union duties
  5. Company doesn’t want to correct erroneous contracts unless the individuals complain
  6. Company want to reduce Minimum Redundancy Payment from 6 weeks

Non-contentious items which are out of date or unresolved in the drafts:

  1. Agreeing timescales (contract wording, disclosure arrangements, commencements)
  2. Implementation plan
  3. Registered office (if not agreed quickly)
  4. “MAN05 union” community on CafeVIK – name changed. Suggest including the SEA as an annex to remove reference altogether.
  5. Personal Choices now Your Choices
  6. £260 a week is now £280
  7. Appeals process (e.g. for redundancy) in Annex 1 and grievance & disciplinary in recognition agreement– point out that individuals and the company must comply with the new statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures
  8. Time limit for hearing first stage of collective grievance procedure is missing

It was agreed that talks in January would only discuss the issues identified today and that the reference documents would otherwise remain unchanged. However, it was understood that conclusions on some points which had been identified today might result in consequential changes in other areas, but that these should be made in line with the principles behind the reference documents.

Amicus identified the following issues that were unresolved from previous talks and must be resolved in the January talks:

1. Coverage of employees in Warrington and on nearby customer sites is unresolved in drafts

2. February 2005 talks identified that complex disclosure section in draft Settlement document might be unnecessary

Amicus also identified the following issues that they might need to reopen if resolving the issues raised by the company shifted the balance of the overall deal:

1. Minimum Redundancy Payment will seem very low in a few years time

2. Right to “status quo” (carrying on as before) while individual grievances are resolved had been weakened

3. Redeployment protection for employees not individually covered by SEA

4. More specifics on support for employees when jobs are at risk (e.g. access to IT for internal and external job hunting)

5. Reduction in rights to collective consultation over redundancy compared to SEA

2. How a deal can be reached

a. Agree today whether to go ahead with January talks

b. Agree today agenda for January

c. Company negotiators to seek whatever buy-in, information etc required before January talks

d. No changes to the draft agreements to be made except together

e. Company to ensure relevant stakeholders and decision-makers are available during the January talks

f. Draft agreements at the end of the January talks will go to company legal advisers, other stakeholders etc for comment

g. Comments to be fed back to Amicus before a one-day meeting to finalise a firm, signed “company offer” by Friday 20th January.

h. Amicus legal department have to approve that we would be allowed to sign the agreement

i. Amicus to put the offer to a vote of members.

j. If agreed, Amicus reps and Regional Officer sign on behalf of the workforce by the end of February.

Company to propose dates by Tuesday 13th December for a one-day meeting to finalise the offer. The dates will be between January talks and 20th January.

3. Agenda for the 4-day talks

a) Meaning and scope of recognition

individual choice in whether to be included in the bargaining unit, what issues can/must be consulted or negotiated on, what circumstances can individuals be represented by the union, in Warrington and on nearby customer sites, correcting erroneous contracts, disclosure issues in Settlement document

b) Redundancy, redeployment etc

Minimum Redundancy Payment

c) Reps numbers and time

d) Amicus issues if balance shifted (2-5)

e) Non-contentious items (3-8)

f) Consequential changes

g) Implementation plan, dates etc. (1 & 2 on non-contentious list)

It may make sense to tackle certain non-contentious items or the Amicus “balance” issues as we go along if discussing related items.

4. Decide whether there is a realistic prospect of agreement, and therefore whether to go ahead with the 4-day talks


5. A further aim for Friday should be to identify any points where any of us need to gather further information, input or legal advice prior to the 4-day meeting.

Neither party believe they need to do so, but will check.

Signed 9th December 2005

Andrew Auty – Director of ADG, Fujitsu Services

Howard Morgan – HR Manager, Fujitsu Services

Ian Allinson – Amicus senior rep, Fujitsu Services

Lynne Hodge – Amicus deputy senior rep, Fujitsu Services

Sulayman Munir – Amicus chair of reps, Fujitsu Services

Posted by IMH at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2005

Outcome of works conference

The works conference took place on Wednesday. This is the final stage of the collective grievance procedure, and was called to deal with issues including pay, redundancy and redeployment, and union recognition.

You can read the grievance letter here.

The agreed actions from the works conference on Wednesday were as follows:

Outcomes of works conference, 30th November 2005

The meeting was held at Central Park to discuss the grievance set out in the letter to Roger Leek dated 11th October 2005.

The following was agreed:

1. On 1st December the company will provide dates for a one-day meeting to go through the draft agreements provided by the union in the letter and identify which issues (whether covered in those documents or not) would require further discussion to reach agreement.

2. The company identified that individual choice in whether to be included in the bargaining unit would be one of those issues.

3. The outcome of the one-day meeting would be a list of issues and a decision as to whether it was worthwhile to go ahead with 5-day talks in early January.

4. On 1st December the company will provisionally book a 5-day block of talks in early January.

5. The company will identify on 1st December who will represent the company at the two meetings.

6. The deadline is to produce an agreed wording of a company offer by Friday 20th January.

7. Amicus feel that the company is in breach of procedure by imposing changes which are under discussion in the grievance procedure on certain employees before the procedure is concluded.

The company feels that Amicus sometimes takes coercive action in relation to issues which are under discussion in the grievance procedure.

Both parties agree to try to avoid any negative impact on negotiations due to examples which arise in the meantime.

One of our main objectives was to try to bring matters to a close quickly and clearly. Many members had become frustrated at the delays we have endured.

Today we received dates from the company, and have agreed that the one-day session will take place next Friday (9th December). The block of talks is booked for four days on 3rd-6th January.

Posted by IMH at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)