UNITE has been working hard to protect the 672 employees whose jobs were put at risk on 20th June following the company’s decision to withdraw from negotiations on the NHS contract and the subsequent termination of the contract.
The union left no stone unturned, doing everything from providing individual support to members to lobbying the Minister for Health, from holding discussions with staff at risk to participating in the consultation forum meetings in Slough.
A great deal has been achieved, and there is no doubt that the “Annex 1” agreement members secured in Manchester last year was a great help to people right across the country. “We want what Manchester gets” became a common phrase as people realised that the agreement enshrines good practice.
Nationally, though the majority were redeployed, there were still unwanted redundancies. The total number made redundant was around 70, though a similar number remain at risk of redundancy on 28th November and others could TUPE to another supplier at some stage.
Aside from the main point – redeployment – here are some of our specific achievements:
- A limited “Voluntary Redundancy” (VR) process within the NHS account
- Everyone made redundant got at least 4 weeks’ pay as a redundancy payment, regardless of length of service
- People who leave the company through redundancy or TUPE have a pro-rata entitlement to any bonus payment
- People likely to TUPE out are not “ring-fenced” in their jobs but can still get other jobs within Fujitsu
- Trial periods for all redeployments, not selectively
- Trial periods are one-way (i.e. for the employee to try out the job, not for the manager to try out the employee)
- For staff covered by the Manchester agreement, the Redeployment Warning Period meant staff who wanted it got longer before redundancy
- People are entitled to proper “job offer” letters so that they can make informed decisions
- People who wished to work some of their notice period were allowed to do so
If we had had stronger union organisation in the areas most affected, we might have avoided compulsory redundancies altogether.
In the current economic climate – union membership and organisation is more valuable than ever.