UNITE Advice: Salary Swap and Your Choices

This notice includes important advice on Fujitsu’s new “Salary Swap” scheme and the related changes to “Your Choices”. If you wish to follow the advice, you need to act quickly, before the company deadline of Friday 25th January.
Fujitsu has introduced the changes for valid reasons – to offer more choice and better benefits to employees, and to save the company money. However, the introduction of the scheme has been rushed and is seriously flawed.
The company is enrolling all eligible employees in salary swap, and does not plan to give employees the right to opt out after August 2008.
The scheme has been set up on CafeVIK Self Service so that you have to agree to a “declaration” if you want to change any of your choices. Unfortunately, the wording of the declaration leaves employees vulnerable to future changes in the scheme. Combined with the inability to leave the scheme in future, your reps believe this is a fatal flaw in the scheme.
Unfortunately the company is moving a number of existing benefits under “Your Choices” into the Salary Swap scheme, so it is possible that the problems could have an impact on them as well.
The company has made the opt-out process complex and confusing. You need to do TWO THINGS if you wish to avoid being trapped in a flawed Salary Swap scheme or agreeing to the declaration.
1) Your reps have drafted a model letter which you can adapt and send to HRdirect:

To: hrdirect@uk.fujitsu.com
I am writing in relation to the launch of Salary Swap and the related changes to the Your Choices scheme. The company has set up a system that requires me to accept a “declaration” if I wish to opt out of the Salary Swap scheme, or to change the default choices. The declaration includes:
“I also understand that Fujitsu Services has the right to amend, vary, substitute or terminate all or any part of Flexible Benefits at any time. If Flexible Benefits, or any element of Flexible Benefits terminates, or if I become ineligible to participate (other than by my leaving Fujitsu Services), I agree that Fujitsu Services will provide me with salary and benefits in accordance with my terms and conditions of employment subject to any changes imposed by the providers of such benefits, or any variation in Flexible Benefits or legislation.”
This wording states that I will return to my normal terms and conditions of employment if the scheme terminates. However, the company is providing no right for me to leave the scheme after August 2008, even if the company amends or varies the scheme to my detriment at some future date.
I hope the company will resolve this issue quickly, so that I can consider the benefits of the scheme on its merits. I understand that I can join later if I decide that is appropriate.
This letter is notice that I decline to take part in all aspects of the Salary Swap scheme for the time being. I am unable to use the company’s online system to make my choices without accepting the declaration, which includes statements I cannot accept. [delete if not applicable: I am also sending you by post an amended copy of the ‘Pension Salary Swap Opt Out Form’.]
For the time being, please [delete as applicable: continue the same choices I made last year / revert my choices to my contractual entitlements].
Yours
???

2) Your reps have published on CafeVIK an amended version of the company form to opt out of the pensions salary swap. To be effective, you must print, complete and return this to HRdirect at BRA01 by 25th January if you are in one of the eligible pension schemes. It is a good idea to keep a copy of the completed form and a note of when you posted it. You may also wish to email a copy to HRdirect, to ensure they are expecting your signed paper copy.
The model letter has been drafted so that you can use it regardless of whether you want to be in or out of salary swap in the long run, or whether you currently want to change your choices.
You will appreciate that your reps needed to issue this advice without further delay, so that you have time to act on it. At present, it is not clear how the company will deal with existing Your Choices if you send the model letter, hence the section at the end to allow you to ask for what you want. UNITE will update members as the situation develops.
Given that the company will save money when people who take part in Salary Swap, it seems likely that if a lot of people opt out they will address the shortcomings of the scheme in the near future. This is what happened with similar issues with the original Personal Choices scheme introduced ten years ago.
Please feel free to pass on this email to colleagues who are interested. If you are one of those colleagues and are interested in finding out more about the union, please get in touch with the union using the form here:
www.ourunion.org.uk/interested
You can join UNITE/Amicus regardless of which location you work at or whether you are home based, what your job is, whether you are a “permanent” employee or an agency temp.

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK are fighting over job security, for union recognition, against victimisation of reps, and over pay and pensions. Members nationally took industrial from 28 February including 15 days of strikes and ongoing action short of strike, after 12 days of local strikes in Manchester.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED but members have voted by 92% to reject a company offer.

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

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