A number of important points relating to job security were covered at the May meeting of Fujitsu’s “UK Consultative Forum” (UKCF).
The official report isn’t out yet, but will appear on the “UK Consultative Forum” CafeVIK community when it has been agreed by HR. Though the majority of UKCF reps are union members, the UKCF is a company body, not a union one, and HR subject reps’ communications to approval.
The company is ramping up its efforts to move work to offshore and nearshore locations, but couldn’t tell UKCF reps which UK jobs would be affected. IS is creating 400 jobs in Russia, and is building up a buffer of 10-15% temps in preparation.
The multilingual helpdesk in Footscray had been moved to Portugal. The company reported that all 22 staff had been successfully redeployed. If this had been unsuccessful, the company might have had to make some of them redundant.
UNITE members from across the country raised the issue of the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) at the UKCF. The company stated that it would honour the SEA for those with it specifically written into their contract. This is a tiny minority of staff, regardless of when you started with the company. In other cases HR would presume the SEA didn’t apply to you and it would be up to you to make a case to be treated as an exception. UNITE believes this means HR putting the onus on thousands of staff who have contractual rights to the SEA to prove it individually or lose massively. When asked about the company suggestion in the Manchester dispute talks that a cut-off date agreed in Manchester would be rolled out nationally, HR said they didn’t wish to discuss that with the UKCF.
In Manchester, the company has now twice extended the date when it intends to make Gary Ellison redundant. Fujitsu is under considerable pressure to redeploy Gary, given that there are plenty of jobs available and the situation has been so badly managed. Dismissing him with less than 90-days warning could only inflame the dispute over the company’s breaches of the SEA.
It seems likely that the outcome of the Manchester dispute will affect how staff across the UK are treated in redundancy situations. This would be similar to what happened in 2003 when Manchester staff won the Minimum Redundancy Payment (MRP) scheme which seems to be operating across the country. However, getting the company to adopt a “practice” nationally is not as good as having your rights enshrined in your contract of employment or a collective agreement.
Reps suggested through the UKCF that ERICs (requests for resource from Core) should be visible to employees. At the moment, many are unfilled when the work is supposed to start, and then are turned into RARs (Recruitment Authorisation Requests) which are too often filled by external recruitment without current staff having a real chance of getting the jobs first.
All the seats on the UKCF will be up for election in October, and UNITE has been working with other unions with the aim of agreeing a slate of candidates that all trade unionists in the company can support. If you’d consider standing, please get in touch.
You can read some of the material from the last election on the ourunion web site.