Manchester: Extraordinary General Meeting

An important decision on pay has to be made by members, so please do your best to attend the Extraordinary General Meeting for all UNITE members in scope of the Manchester agreements:
2pm – 3:30pm, Thursday 29th November
Hot desk area, MAN33-1 – East

You are entitled to attend the meeting in work time. However, if your manager may need to arrange cover for while you are in the meeting, please confirm your attendance with them as soon as possible. If you have difficulty getting release, please contact a rep as soon as possible.
Please take the time to consider the information below, so that the time in the meeting can be used as productively as possible. If you wish to propose amendments to the proposals, it would be helpful if you could discuss these with a rep and sort out the wording in advance.
A “One Per Desk” leaflet is being distributed across the site to advertise the meeting. Copies are available on CafeVIK and on OurUnion. Please do all you can to encourage colleagues to come along and have their say on Thursday.


Proposed Agenda

  1. General Update
    Including offshoring, implementation of the new Manchester agreements, union learning, out of hours harmonisation, pensions, organising
  2. Pay Review 2008
    See below for details of the proposals
  3. Election of Reps etc
    No new nominations for Reps, Health & Safety Reps or Union Learning Reps have been received so far.
  4. Nominations to UNITE Executive Council
    Following the merger, UNITE members will elect a first Executive Council. Your workplace reps can nominate candidates for some of the seats, subject to your endorsement. See below for the proposed nominations.
  5. AOB (items notified in advance)
  6. Summing Up

Pay Review 2008
Your reps are putting forward two alternative approaches towards pay and benefits for the next few months. The reasoning behind these alternatives will be explained in the meeting.
The meeting will be asked to decide between the approaches and members can amend them if they wish. To enable the smooth running of the meeting, please contact your reps in advance if you wish to propose an amendment to either proposal.
OPTION A

Context for pay review
The Retail Price Index (RPI) rose by 4.2% in the year to October 2007. Average earnings rose by 4.2% in the year to September 2007.
The trend in the UK IT jobs marketplace is still one of skills shortage rather than skills surplus. This is one of the reasons quoted by employers for wanting to relocate some work offshore.
Many parts of Fujitsu Services are recruiting externally, including in the North-West. The company operates an “Introduce a Friend” scheme to help identify suitable external candidates. To attract external candidates the company has to take account of market rates. A situation where long-serving and experienced employees are paid less than new colleagues is damaging to morale and not sustainable.
Sustained good company performance in a service industry depends on attracting, retaining and motivating the workforce. This requires a skilled and experienced workforce with good morale.
Fujitsu Services’ profits have been improving significantly over recent years, benefiting from rapidly increasing productivity. Profit before taxation has grown by 5% to £172m and revenue by 5% to almost £2.5bn. The Annual Report refers to strong revenue growth, an increasing order book and positive cash-flow. It says that total equity grew from £157.0 to £287.5m as a result of another year’s strong trading performance. The highest paid director received a package of £1.87M in the last financial year, a rise of over £100K. Employees should share in the benefits of their increased productivity and the resultant increased profits. Discretionary non-consolidated bonuses are no substitute for adequate levels of basic pay.
Pay for many Fujitsu Services employees is low compared to market rates for a combination of historical reasons, including a long period of poor company performance, followed by a period of below inflation rises despite rising profits. Median pay for Fujitsu staff in many roles is still below the median for equivalent jobs in the external market in late 2002. The company used to argue that low basic pay was offset by good packages (out of hours arrangements, pensions, severance packages etc). Though the company is making efforts to increase the range of employee benefits, these are at the “low value” end and an increasing proportion of employees do not benefit from the more favourable packages which were typical in the past.
For a number of years the company has allocated a pay “pot” that is then distributed between existing employees. The pot size needs to be significantly higher than the increase in prices or average earnings just in order for pay rates to keep up. This is because pay increases reflecting individual progress up the career structure are included in the pot, but have no impact on the rate of pay for a role. Individuals are having to run up a down-escalator.
With this background in mind, it is both right for Fujitsu employees and necessary for the company to award a substantial pay increase, recognising not only the labour market within which the company operates but also to recognise and reward the contribution made by employees to the developing success of the organisation.
Ongoing activities already agreed
Separately from any 2008 pay deal, the company is already committed to:

  1. Discussing company plans to change the career structure and its link to pay and benefits. UNITE wants this to include published pay and benefit scales which take account of external market rates.
  2. Funding all promotional pay rises outside the annual pay review “pot”.
  3. Ensuring that employees who change roles or receive pay rises between general pay reviews are paid at least the lower guideline level (with certain agreed exceptions, where a plan must be put in place to rectify this).
  4. Monitoring to ensure that the company consistently agrees a plan (including reward and development) with individuals who are promoted.
  5. Providing proper pay progression by ensuring fair relative pay levels within the pay band for each Professional Community role.
  6. Clarifying the D1-4 scales, and who is on this pay system.
  7. Preventing the salaries of employees on D1-4 scales affecting the medians used for the pay reviews of those who are not.
  8. Implementing the review of benefit cars agreed in the 2005 pay agreement and reiterated in the recent ACAS talks.
  9. An Equal Pay Review with UNITE.
  10. Reviewing policies relating to Equality between April and December 2008.

Pay claim
a) The April 2008 pay review
1. Increases based on factors such as performance, scarce skills, attrition.
2. Increases to address individual and groups with low pay for historical reasons. These should be centrally allocated to avoid impacting on departmental pay pots.
3. A centrally allocated cost of living pay rise for all employees reflecting the increases in prices, average earnings, productivity and profitability.
4. Ensure nobody is paid below the bottom of the relevant pay scale.
5. Pay rises on promotions during the year should be properly funded, in addition to the annual pay review “pot”.
6. All the pay budget should be spent on increases to basic pay, not bonuses.
b) The pay system
1. An increase to the D1-4 helpdesk pay scales.
2. The Company to publish the guideline pay and benefit levels.
3. Agree with UNITE a way of creating meaningful pay and benefit scales based on a stated pay policy in relation to external market rates.
4. Ensure fair relative pay and benefit levels within the guidelines for each Professional Community role (based on the progress from Settlement Agreement section 3.3)
5. Clarify what defines the job someone is contracted to do – is it their Professional Community role or the tasks they are currently employed to do?
c) Life-work balance
1. Introduction of an overnight allowance for those working away from home.
2. A reduction in contracted hours to 37 for those currently on more, without loss of pay. Discussions on an eventual reduction to 35 hours.
3. Improvement of the sabbatical leave scheme to allow employees to take a break from work and then return to their job.
d) Bonus/incentive schemes
1. Targets for completion of timesheets, appraisals etc should be realistic and be set and measured in a way that avoids loss of bonus for occasional minor oversights or for problems that are outside the control of the individual. Loss of all bonus for administrative oversight early in the year would remove any incentive for completion for the remainder of the year.
2. “Stretch” targets for utilisation are inappropriate, as they can only be achieved by excessive hours or neglecting vital parts of company business that do not count towards utilisation. Nobody in the bargaining unit to have their bonus or incentive payment reduced on this basis.
3. Nobody in the bargaining unit should lose bonus or incentive for legitimate absence (e.g. maternity, illness).
4. Bonus or incentive payments should only be reduced as a result of performance, attendance or conduct issues if that was a sanction imposed as part of a proper disciplinary process. Any loss of bonus as a disciplinary sanction should be proportionate to the offence, both for reasons of natural justice and because removal of the entire bonus for a first minor offence removes any incentive for the remainder of the year.
e) Pensions & retirement
1. The re-opening of the Defined Benefit (final salary) scheme to all employees.
2. Update all the company’s pension schemes to have at least 50% of trustees being Member Nominated.
3. Work with UNITE to educate employees who are currently not in any company pension scheme about the benefits of scheme membership.
f) Implementation
1. The company will provide information to UNITE after the pay review and during the year to allow monitoring that the agreement has been implemented fully and fairly.

OPTION B

The recent Manchester agreements resulted in most employees in scope (those below the old salary threshold) getting an additional pay rise of £150 from October 2007, and about half of those in scope (those who were receiving a disturbance allowance) having their disturbance allowance consolidated into basic pay (an average increase of around £1000).
As company pay budgets are calculated as a percentage of the existing pay bill, the effect of these salary increases has also been to increase the size of the pay pot for April 2008 for everyone, whether they personally received a rise in October or not.
As a result of recent agreements with UNITE, the company is already committed to:

  • Discussing company plans to change the career structure and its link to pay and benefits. UNITE wants this to include published pay and benefit scales which take account of external market rates.
  • Funding all promotional pay rises outside the annual pay review “pot”.
  • Ensuring that employees who change roles or receive pay rises between general pay reviews are paid at least the lower guideline level (with certain agreed exceptions, where a plan must be put in place to rectify this).
  • Monitoring to ensure that the company consistently agrees a plan (including reward and development) with individuals who are promoted.
  • Providing proper pay progression by ensuring fair relative pay levels within the pay band for each Professional Community role.
  • Clarifying the D1-4 scales and who is on this pay system.
  • Preventing the salaries of employees on D1-4 scales affecting the medians used for the pay reviews of those who are not.
  • Implementing the review of benefit cars agreed in the 2005 pay agreement and reiterated in the recent ACAS talks.
  • An Equal Pay Review with UNITE.
  • Reviewing policies relating to Equality between April and December 2008.

In addition, UNITE is representing employees in national discussions around the “harmonisation” of contracts in relation to overtime, shifts, standby and normal working hours.
During the dispute talks, UNITE had proposed a two-year pay deal, partly to help provide a period of stability after the settlement. The proposal would have allowed time for staff and management alike to feel the benefits of the new agreements and to build trust and new relationships. However, the company did not include this in their offer. We want the benefit of this stability while continuing to vigorously pursue improved pay and benefits for Fujitsu employees.
We believe that the best way to improve pay and benefits over the next few months is to focus on:

  1. Campaigning and organising in Manchester and on other sites to influence the national approach Fujitsu takes to pay and benefits now and strengthen our ability to do so in future.
  2. Pressing for the best possible implementation of the commitments already made.
  3. Providing advice, support and (where appropriate) representation to members over pay and benefits issues.

We resolve:

  1. To pursue the priorities set out in 1-3 above.
  2. To ask the company to consider UNITE’s views when determining the company’s standard (national) pay arrangements.
  3. Not to submit a pay claim for April 2008, but to ask the company to include everyone in the Manchester bargaining unit in the standard April 2008 pay review.
  4. To instruct our reps to monitor the implementation of the pay review and report back to members.

UNITE Executive Council elections
Following the merger with the TGWU to form UNITE, elections are taking place for the union’s first Executive Council (EC), which is the controlling body of the union between conferences.
The EC will consist of 80 people, 40 of which will be elected by former members of Amicus.
Nominations are currently open and your workplace reps have the right to nominate candidates for one seat for the Electrical Engineering, Electronics & IT (EEE&IT) industrial sector, and for four women’s seats. At the EGM members will decide whether to endorse the proposed nominations.
The proposed nominations (showing name, branch and membership number) are:

Rep EEE&IT Women’s
nomination #1
Women’s
nomination #2
Women’s
nomination #3
Women’s
nomination #4
Dave
Francis
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South Lanarkshire
32938535
Dean
Burn
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Ian
Allinson
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Isabel Hay Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Jackie
Cook
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
       
Lynne
Hodge
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Michael
Thomas
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Nikki
Aldridge
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Pauline
Bradburn
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds 0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Phil
Tepper
Ian Allinson
Greater Manchester
IT 9827M
30439666
Jane Stewart
Levers 9704
30269599
Louise Cousins
Leeds
0517
32987372
Terri Miller
Delarue
32680603
Dawn McAllister
South
Lanarkshire
32938535
Zahid
Ramzan
TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

More information on the election process is available on the union’s national web site.
Once nominations are complete, all members will be able to vote in the elections, which will take place in March. Members in Fujitsu should have votes for six of the seats – the five for which your reps can nominate, plus a regional seat (for which nominations are made through branches, not workplace reps).

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit are balloting for industrial action over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

Further information is available here including a downloadable appeal for support leaflet and how to donate to our strike fund.

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