UNITE members in Manchester decided on their pay claim at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 17th October and it was submitted to the company the same day.
Since then a leaflet has been distributed across the Manchester site which includes the text of the claim, and pay campaign lanyards have begun to be distributed across the country. If you haven’t got yours yet, please speak to your rep. You could take a few to hand out to members and non-members near you as well.
In addition, UNITE has written to the company requesting information for collective bargaining and proposing dates for talks. Your reps are awaiting a response from the company to this, which is promised before Xmas.
Meanwhile, the company has met with the Pay and Benefits subgroup of the UK Consultative Forum (UKCF). A number of the employee reps on the UKCF subgroup are also UNITE reps. The employee reps proposed improvements to the draft “standard” company guidelines for the 2009 pay review, and a response on these proposals is expected shortly.
The company has already decided that it does intend to put in place (nationally) a couple of the measures proposed in our claim:
- An additional mileage allowance will be introduced for employees who share cars on business trips.
- A facility for employees to buy annual public transport passes by deduction from salary.
The second of these points should be a very significant financial gain for many employees. Initially the scheme will only apply to bus travel, because this allows us to take advantage of an HMRC scheme to buy the passes through salary swap and get tax relief. The combination of the tax saving, discounts we hope will be available through bulk purchase, and making cheaper annual passes affordable for more employees by spreading the cost throughout the year should make this a very significant saving for those who make use of the scheme. The scheme is made much more complex by the privatisation and fragmentation of our public transport system. The first step will be a survey of employees to find out what routes run by which bus companies we are interested in. The provider will then have to negotiate prices with each company, before offering the tickets for sale to employees.
Of course the point about the Manchester Congestion Charge is now less relevant following the overwhelming vote to reject the scheme.