In line with the motion agreed by members at the EGM on 4th December, your reps are keeping you informed about jobs at risk in the bargaining unit.
Overall, the situation is good (see below), but there is currently a very serious situation involving Malcolm ——. In accordance with the motion, your reps want your views on what action we should take to protect him. Your reps are concerned that the situation could develop very quickly, so please be ready to support Malcolm at short notice if that proves necessary.
Malcolm has been manoeuvred out of his job, dismissed and reinstated. The company has withheld his sales commission.
The company appears to be using Malcolm as a pawn in a sick game. Reps smelt a rat when the company suddenly decided to sack Malcolm just when reps were at their busiest with pay negotiations. After months of delay, the same thing seems to be happening again now.
This is no way to treat any employee, and it was almost inevitable that it would cause serious anxiety and stress.
The timeline tells the saga of delay and mismanagement:
- April 2008: told his sales job was redundant, despite the sales plan showing over £35m of opportunities.
- May 2008: another employee is given Malcolm’s job. This is fundamentally wrong in a redundancy situation.
- June 2008: Company starts “Redeployment Warning Period”, tried to move him into Linkwise, pressure him into accepting a Compromise Agreement, threatened to withhold sales commission earned the previous year.
- Asked to apply for a job which was unsuitable, with no details of the terms and conditions, and told (wrongly) he had to choose between a Compromise Agreement or the unsuitable job.
- October 2008: Moved to Linkwise
- December 2008: Given one month’s notice of redundancy. Submitted grievance.
- January 2009: Letter notifying Malcolm of redundancy, giving the wrong redundancy payment and saying he had 5 days to appeal. Malcolm appealed and pointed out that the company hadn’t heard his grievance and must hear it before dismissal (thanks to our agreements). This was acknowledged and a response promised.
- The redundancy payment was made to Malcolm’s bank account and all the Fujitsu systems other than email started closing down.
- UNITE Regional Officer intervened and Malcolm was re-instated by a letter from Linkwise which also said that his salary would be paid in the normal way.
- After discussions, it was agreed that while we tried to agree a solution Malcolm would not repay the redundancy money, but salary would be funded from the PILON he had received. If he was eventually made redundant then the PILON would be made back up – confirmed in writing.
- Subsequent payslips are incorrect. Explanation is that “that was the easiest way for Fujitsu to do it”, even though it made it hard to work out what Fujitsu would owe Malcolm if he did get made redundant.
- February 2009: Finally sent an invitation to a grievance hearing, which then took place in early March, though no line management attended.
- March 2009: Sales commission was due, but not paid. This is still unpaid.
- May 2009: Malcolm finally gets a response to his stage 1 grievance, which says he has 10 days to appeal to stage 2. It was clear that the company had not interviewed any of the members of the team or business unit who supported him. Malcolm follows the procedure and lodges his appeal.
- June 2009: Company say they don’t see the point in having a stage 2 hearing, so he will hear from his Linkwise manager. Telephone call from Linkwise (later followed by email and letter) invites Malcolm to a meeting to discuss his “current employment situation”. The company won’t confirm precisely what the meeting is for, but refuse to confirm that it won’t result in him being dismissed or given notice of dismissal. This meeting is expected to take place on Friday 3rd July.
The current possible dismissal is just the latest twist in the company’s scandalous treatment of Malcolm. If the company went ahead with dismissing him without hearing his grievance, this would be a clear and serious breach of our Recognition Agreement and Annex 1.
Since we reached these agreements with the company, UNITE has been scrupulous in keeping our end of the bargain. UNITE reps and officers have made clear to the company that the union would treat it very seriously indeed if the company went ahead with dismissing a member in breach of our agreements.
It would be in the interests of the company to resolve Malcolm’s case through discussions. If not, we all need to be ready to respond appropriately.
During 2009, the company has put 21 staff in the bargaining unit “at risk” in one way or another. Most of these were not at risk of dismissal, but the company either intended to get rid of their job and redeploy them or to TUPE their job to another company.
Of the 21, 14 people kept their original jobs, three were redeployed, one was made redundant (he was happy with this). Three of the 21 jobs currently remain at risk, including Malcolm’s case where he is at risk of redundancy dismissal.
Overall this is a very good track record. Our Annex 1 agreement continues to help ensure staff in the bargaining unit have improved job security.