UNITE Executive Council Highlights

Ian Allinson, one of our reps in Manchester, also represents our industry sector on the UNITE Executive Council (EC). He reports a few of the highlights from the EC meeting last week.
The Joint General Secretaries reported on the results UNITE is getting in the IT & Communications sector, including important developments in Steria and HP/EDS:
Steria
Steria originally proposed a 2.15% pay offer and then withdrew that offer, imposing a pay freeze. Following overwhelming votes for industrial action and formal notice being given to the company, negotiations at senior executive level produced a long term pay offer which was accepted by members to resolve the Unite pay claim for 2009/2010 and provides for a 3 Year Pay Review Agreement, with increases above price inflation (RPI)
HP
The CAC has awarded Unite recognition for Collective Bargaining for all Engineers below level of manager, covering around 230 field engineers in one business of the company. Following this, we have negotiated a recognition agreement with the company to provide for bargaining on pay, hours and holidays, grievance and disciplinary matters, training and health and safety.

The Executive Council approved a proposal for the UNITE Organising Department to assist reps and officers in the Computer Services industry in an organising campaign. This will initially focus on five of the key companies in the sector: Fujitsu, IBM, HP/EDS, CSC and Steria. From a Fujitsu point of view, this should accelerate the good progress we are already making to build effective union organisation across the company.
The EC agreed a motion from the Fujitsu UK Combine Committee to further strengthen UNITE’s work on pensions in response to the increasing attacks by employers:

We note the attempts by an increasing range of employers to attack pension provision, and in particular defined benefit pension schemes. We note that sections of the media and politicians are proclaiming the death of the defined benefit pension and promoting divisions between workers in the private and public sector.
We note that a threat to pension provision is one of the situations most likely to lead members to support industrial action. We note that UNITE’s campaigning in defence of pensions is already leading to significant membership growth in a number of companies.
Given the scale of the attacks now, and the likelihood of them spreading, we call on the UNITE Executive Council to step up UNITE’s campaigning on pensions by:

  1. Allocating more resources to providing specialist pensions advice and support to our officers and reps
  2. Allocating more resources to providing legal advice and support to our officers and reps dealing with attacks on pensions
  3. Coordinating our campaigning on pensions at regional, sectoral and national level to maximise our impact
  4. Working with other unions, pensioner groups etc to maximise our impact
  5. Involve members who are affected by threats to pensions in lobbying government to act to protect pensions.
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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 while members consider an offer from Fujitsu.

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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