Manchester: Update on Pay & Benefits

Thanks to everyone who sent in comments on the Fujitsu’s initial pay offer for the Manchester bargaining unit. These helped your negotiating team to prioritise changes to seek in the “stage 3” negotiations, which were facilitated by ACAS.
UNITE has published the improved offer we have received from the company today. To understand what has changed, we have also produced documents showing the changes from the current agreement and changes from the initial offer. UNITE’s pay claim is here. Once again, UNITE would welcome your views and comments on the offer.
There will be a meeting for all UNITE members in scope of the Manchester Recognition Agreement:
1:30-3:30pm, Wednesday 13th July, MAN35 canteen
At this members’ meeting there will be a discussion and a vote to decide whether the UNITE should accept or reject the offer. If you aren’t yet a UNITE member, please consider joining (www.ourunion.org.uk/join.htm). The meeting will also discuss the serious breakdown in industrial relations which has led to UNITE giving notice to Fujitsu of an industrial action ballot. Our latest “One Per Desk” newsletter explains some of the background to this.
Main improvements since the initial offer:

  1. Re-introducing the “matrices” to guarantee an element related to performance and position in the pay band.
  2. Minimum wage increased from £12,000 to £13,500 and review level from £14,000 to £14,500.
  3. Improvements to Appendix 4 which is now closer to what would be required for UNITE to monitor the implementation of the agreement
  4. Appraisals and PACs to be based only on the individual’s own performance (banning quotas or “forced ranking”)
  5. Restoring some sections the company previously proposed to remove from the agreement, such as dealing with outstanding company car anomalies from 2005 and protecting service desk staff with consolidated disturbance allowances.

Other observations about the offer:

  1. The budget available for the August pay review is 2.5%, compared to 2% outside the bargaining unit, but the RPI cost of living rose 5.2% in the year to May. Promotions for people in the bargaining unit continue to be funded in addition to the pay pot, as will increases to bring people up to their lower comparator and the cash floor on the cost of living rise (see below).
  2. It includes a “cost of living” element of 1% or £225 (whichever is greater), whereas many of those without union recognition will get no pay increase at all. Despite our poll of employees in the bargaining unit showing 91% wanted a bigger cost of living element than this, the company have not increased this since stage 2.
  3. “Appendix 4”, sets out timescales and information to be provided for future negotiations. Though better than in the last offer, this is still inadequate. UNITE is relying on a legal claim to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to ensure information is disclosed to allow monitoring of the agreement and more constructive negotiations in future. This means that if the offer is accepted it will be important for all employees to check their rises carefully. Last year hundreds of Manchester staff were underpaid and the few who raised this through UNITE received full back pay.
  4. The reintroduction of the matrices is welcome, but the numbers in them look very odd indeed. In previous years these were jointly worked out by UNITE and the company, but this year the company didn’t provide the information required for UNITE to carry out meaningful cost modelling (hence the CAC claim mentioned above). Consequently the numbers were put into the matrix by the company alone. The offer says that the company will spend 1% on the matrices (as in 2010), but it is hard to see how this could be true given that they have reduced the figures so dramatically. Service desk staff on D1-D4 scales would get nothing at all from the matrix for an “A” PAC.
  5. While the matrix figures in the company offer don’t seem to deliver genuinely performance related pay, the element at “management discretion” remains at 0.5% – double that last year.
  6. It does not include any increase to the Service Desk “D1-D4” pay scales, which have only increased by 3.6% in the last ten years. An increase to the scales could be made in Manchester at little or no additional cost. The company says the increase is unaffordable because it wants to apply any increase nationally. This indicates that Service Desk staff in sites without union recognition must be being paid significantly less.
  7. The current agreement says “The terms of the Company’s Defined Contribution pension schemes are a contractual entitlement for those existing and new employees who are members of such schemes. Wording based on the contractual variation letter used for former members of the ICL DB Pension Plan will be incorporated into this agreement”. UNITE provided draft wording to implement this to the company on 5th April, but after a number of delays the company has removed this from its offers. This is a serious breach of our existing agreements. The lack of any credible explanation creates the impression that the company is preparing the ground for a further attack on employees’ pensions.
  8. Last year the company committed to incorporate into the Manchester Pay And Benefits Agreement relevant points arising from the national ACAS agreement of 26th February 2010. UNITE provided draft wording to implement this to the company on 5th April, but the company has continually delayed implementation. Now the offer removes this completely.
  9. Employees will have access to median salaries for roles they are applying for, as well as their own role.
  10. It includes a commitment to review contractual hours anomalies – people in areas where 37 hours is the norm whose contracts are for more. This is not tightly worded, but does say there is an expectation their hours will be reduced to 37 without loss of pay.
  11. The offer removes the commitment to give people who change roles benefits at least in line with the company’s own guidelines. Though the stage 3 wording is slightly better than at stage 2, this still allows the company to create yet more anomalies.
  12. It includes a review with individuals who are “acting up” in higher roles, to determine whether a “responsibility allowance” should be paid.
  13. While it doesn’t yet cover temporary and agency workers, the company is offering a joint review before the new legislation comes into force on 1st October 2011.
  14. Fujitsu had not kept UNITE informed about the impact on pay and benefits of the introduction of the Apprentice scheme, so this was only identified as an issue very recently. The offer would mean their 2011 pay reviews would be managed centrally by the company, but UNITE has informed the company that it intends to look at pay and benefits of the Apprentices more closely after that point.
  15. Everyone (including the group of people who were moved from TSM to SIM roles) will be reviewed against the comparators for their current role unless they quickly provide written evidence of an agreement to the contrary.
  16. The company would not include wording to make clear that objectives, targets etc should be set so that they can be achieved and exceeded without working additional hours.
  17. The offer ends the consolidation of disturbance allowances into basic pay in future. This would mean staff moving to Manchester would be hit by the recent change in company policy to phase out disturbance allowances.

We will update you again following the members’ meeting.
UNITE Manchester pay & benefits team:
Ian Allinson
Pauline Bradburn
Phil Tepper
Terry Thompson

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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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