Pay & benefits 2011

Fujitsu has published the managers’ guidelines for the August 2011 pay review, which apply to UK staff not covered by collective bargaining.
The company proposes a pay “pot” of just 2%. The latest inflation figures are 5.2% (RPI) in the year to April, while even the artificially lower CPI measure stood at 4.5%. This means Fujitsu proposes a significant cut in the living standards of most employees yet again.
No doubt the company will seek to justify the paltry pay pot by pointing the impact of government cuts and contract losses on the company’s finances. This might be more credible if the company gave decent pay rises in the good years. The graph below shows how far we’ve all been falling behind – even if you got a rise matching the full “pot” every year:
pay chart.gif
The company says that 2049 employees haven’t had any pay rise at all since April 2008.
Whatever problems Fujitsu has, they certainly aren’t caused by paying the workforce too much. Focussing on the short term and neglecting the people who deliver its services is no way to build a successful company. No wonder morale is so low when not only is the company cutting our pay in real terms, but demanding more and more from each of us while chipping away at everything from pensions to the Majority Club and pre-retirement wind-down.
In the growing parts of the company covered by union recognition, the company will negotiate with the unions over the pay review, rather than unilaterally deciding on the pot and guidelines without even consulting anyone.
It’s only by building stronger union organisation across Fujitsu and the rest of the IT industry that employees will be able to stop the “race to the bottom” and ensure we all get decent pay and benefits.

  • 2049 employees haven’t had any pay rise at all since April 2008, and it is clear the company intends to give many zeroes this year.
  • The company has allocated a separate 0.5% “pot” for promotions. Promotions are about changing who does which job, and don’t affect the overall payroll cost (see Bodgit & Scarper). A restricted pot for promotions could break the legal principle of equal pay for work of equal value, as someone being promoted could be paid less than they deserve. The company makes this even worse by suggesting being “new in role” could justify paying someone less than 75% of the median.
  • The guidelines fail to adequately cover arrangements for employees in Service Desks.
  • There is no reference to any firm minimum wage, yet again promising only a “review” to those on less than £13,500 – a figure that hasn’t increased by a penny since last year.

  • The guidelines say that a key focus is on Equal Pay anomalies, yet the company gives no guidance to managers on how to identify them (section 4 is about pay anomalies, not equal pay anomalies), while continued secrecy hinders employees checking for themselves.
  • The company intends to waste some of the inadequate pay review budget on non-consolidated bonuses.

You should have seen the campaign UNITE has launched in the IT Services industry for fair and transparent pay and benefits. Details of this, including a leaflet that has been widely distributed, are available on the campaign web site: www.unitetheunion.org/itcharter.
Winning fairness and transparency would be an achievement in its own right, but it can also help us build the union’s strength so that workers have more influence over the pay rates themselves – something that is very difficult when they are so secret.
UNITE has already written to major IT Services companies requesting information to objectively assess the fairness of their pay systems. Some responses (including Fujitsu’s) were predictably unhelpful in providing the information requested. However, it is interesting that several companies are already starting to take the issue more seriously</b?. For example, Fujitsu’s pay guidelines include the statement:

In response to feedback from employee groups, including Fujitsu Voice, we intend to move from Internal Pay medians towards external market benchmarks which will not be population dependant and which will be published. For the 2011/12 pay review we will have external benchmarks for some roles as an additional frame of reference to Internal Pay Comparators. A comprehensive set of external benchmarks will be developed for 2012/13 which will be more definitive.

This is a significant early success for UNITE’s campaign and one we need to build on. Look out for further information about how you can get involved in the campaign for fair and transparent pay and benefits in the IT Services industry.
Fujitsu’s guidelines don’t explain which roles will have external benchmarks this year, how they have been selected, or how they have been mapped onto Fujitsu role codes. All these questions have a significant bearing on the fairness of using the figures in the pay review.
Workers in one of the UNITE bargaining units in HP faced the threat of a pay freeze this year, but following a short strike the company increased the offer to 2% – still not great, but 2% better than if they’d had no union.
Appraisals and Objectives
Many members are discussing appraisals and objectives around this time of year. Though our survey showed many staff feel their appraisals are of little real value, it’s important to ensure you don’t lose out in terms of pay, bonus or job opportunities. Your appraisal could even affect redundancy selection.
UNITE previously produced some tips on objectives, appraisals and discussing pay with your manager which are available online.
Make sure you agree your PAC rating with your manager in your appraisal meeting, so that you know if it’s later “moderated” by someone else without your knowledge. There are persistent rumours of some managers applying “quotas” to the numbers getting particular PACs – which is fundamentally wrong and is not part of Fujitsu’s Performance Plus system. UNITE’s IT & Communications sector produced a briefing on the issue last year.
If you get bad feedback and it’s fair, then learn by it. If it’s not fair then work out why and challenge it as soon as you can otherwise it may be too late. Are you being made a scapegoat for a wider problem or the victim of internal politics? Could it be discrimination on Gender, Age, Race, Sexuality, Disability etc – whether deliberate or not? Whatever the problem is, don’t let it drop and (especially if it might be discrimination) feel free to talk to a rep in confidence to work out the best way to tackle it.

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit are balloting for industrial action over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

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