NHS Redundancies

Steady progress is being made to redeploy staff at risk of redundancy following the termination of Fujitsu’s NHS contract. When the contract was terminated the number of employees in scope was 804, when the company formally put employees “at risk” on 20th June this was down to 672, and by Friday it was down to 498.
Fujitsu has decided to take out of scope for redundancy four further groups:
* Staff working on PACS/RIS, for which Fujitsu expects to get a new contract
* Staff working on the support of the eight “live” sites. We expect these jobs to TUPE transfer to BT
* Some IS staff who are no longer aligned to NHS work
* Agents working on the National Service Desk (though there is a possibility they could be subject to a separate 90-day redundancy consultation if the contract is terminated)
UNITE and Fujitsu are both pressing for Connecting for Health (CfH) to make a speedy decision about future suppliers for the remainder of the work, so that more staff can TUPE transfer across rather than being made redundant. UNITE has already met with the heads of CfH and is now seeking a meeting with ministers to press the case. There are signs of progress on enlarging the group which would transfer, though the situation remains very uncertain.
While UNITE is doing all it can to promote redeployment and transfer to other suppliers, we have to prepare for the possibility that redundancies might not be completely avoided. There are a number of steps that Fujitsu could and should be taking at the appropriate time:
* Communicating openly with staff across the company about what is going on
* Seeking volunteers for redundancy elsewhere in the company and accepting them where NHS staff can be redeployed into their jobs
* Extending the consultation period beyond 18th September to allow more time for alternative suppliers to be identified and for staff to be redeployed
* Doing more to replace contractor and temp positions with permanent jobs
* Authorising recruitment into teams that are understaffed
* Stopping paid and unpaid overtime throughout the company, unless it can be demonstrated that staff at risk couldn’t be redeployed to do the work
* Allowing those staff at risk who request it to leave early unless there is a specific reason this can’t be allowed
If you are aware of anything in your area that could be changed to help the situation, please contact your UNITE rep as soon as possible. Examples might be identifying unfilled vacancies, understaffing or excessive workload.
The current situation is clearly demonstrating the benefits of union recognition, and in particular the “Annex 1” agreement secured by Manchester members last year. In many areas it is being recognised as best practice by employees and managers alike – the NHS Consultation Forum is pressing for many aspects of it to be applied everywhere.
One of the challenges is to ensure that the support given to members isn’t diluted by large numbers of people joining at the last minute and demanding individual attention. At a recent national meeting of UNITE reps in Fujitsu, it was agreed that while everyone will benefit from the work UNITE is doing at a collective level, reps will only give individual support (in relation to these redundancies) to members who join by “day 59” of the consultation, which is 18th August 2008. If you have colleagues affected by these redundancies, please encourage them to join as quickly as possible, so that they can get maximum benefit from their membership.

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Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK have been taking industrial as part of their dispute over jobs, union recognition, pay and pensions. Action from 28 February has included 15 days of strikes and ongoing action short of strike.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED but members have voted by 92% to reject a company offer and renewed campaign plans are being made.

The national dispute follows the resolution of a local dispute in Manchester which included 12 strike days.

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

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