You may remember that in 2007, UNITE reps, along with colleagues from PCS and the company’s UK Consultative Forum (UKCF) got involved in a working group on “Out Of Hours Harmonisation”, trying to come up with a consistent company policy on the organisation and payment of overtime, standby, callout, shifts etc.
Early in these discussions, the company put forward a draft policy which all the employee reps felt was so outrageous that even reporting it to employees would cause unnecessary conflict. Despite protests from all the reps, the company rebadged this as the “IS Interim Guidelines” and started applying it to new starters, people who moved jobs etc within Infrastructure Services. However, there was an island of sanity in the Manchester Bargaining Unit, where the company agreed these guidelines would not be used.
At the recent Fujitsu Voice meeting, the company told reps that it has rebadged the guidelines as the UK Interim Additional Hours Guidelines and proposes to roll these out across the UK whenever anyone joins, and to existing employees who change job/role/contract or starts a new pattern of working out of hours, but do not have any existing contractual entitlement.
There is currently a wide variety of terms and conditions across Fujitsu. A few are even worse than these guidelines, but most are better, including the Unsocial Hours Policy (UHP) which used to apply to most staff right across the company. If the company goes ahead as it suggests, this would not achieve consistency, but would gradually mean a “levelling down” of terms and conditions.
While your reps try to engage with the company to ensure the issue is dealt with sensibly, there are some important steps you can take now to prepare and protect your own position. It is important to establish what your own terms and conditions are in relation to Out Of Hours. You can:
- Dig out your original contract of employment and other paperwork, to see what it says about your terms and conditions for working hours and out of hours.
- If you want to know what’s held about you on the HR Database, you could contact HR Direct and ask them your “Out Of Hours codes” are. The HR database holds four codes for each person – an “overall” one, and one each for overtime, standby and shift. The codes are described (not very reliably or accurately) in the company’s “Master OOH Codes” spreadsheet.
It is very important to remember that there is a high probability that the information on the HR Database is wrong. Much of the data is also misleading. In particular, the company entered “NOELIG” for lots of people simply on the basis that they weren’t claiming Out Of Hours payments a few years ago, even if they clearly do have a contractual entitlement.
If you find that the company is holding wrong information about your contract of employment, please get this corrected as soon as possible, to minimise the risk of losing out.