So far, UNITE members in Crewe and Manchester have voted for industrial action, along with PCS members working on government contracts at a number of sites.
Fujitsu is not just squeezing our pay and conditions now – it is also taking action now to prepare the ground for further attacks in the future. If we allow Fujitsu to pick and choose which bits of agreements it wants to honour, and to pick off union reps who speak up on our behalf, we can expect Fujitsu’s “race to the bottom” to accelerate. The best time to stop this is now.
We need to avoid a situation where:
- far more people are likely to be made compulsorily redundant in future
- pay and benefits become even less fair
- we will have no say over the trustees who oversee our pensions, and will allow the company to attack FJUK pension benefits more easily by dividing the workforce
- we face a “race to the bottom” in terms and conditions
- instead of “levelling up” the rest of Fujitsu to the rights that come with union recognition – for consultation and negotiation so staff have a say over how they are treated at work – we risk “levelling down” to no say at all
- people will become less confident to get involved and we will not have the standard of representation we need
The company is breaking its agreement and promise to employees across the UK to give all FJUK pension plan members the same contractual wording to protect their pensions as former ICL DB members.
The result of the breaches of our agreements is that a few thousand members have proper detailed wording in their contracts of employment to protect their pensions. The majority of staff just have a bland statement that the terms are contractual, which is of dubious value.
This breach of our agreements is extremely bad news for all employees:
- FJUK members who were never in the ICL DB plan risk the company facing fewer hurdles to downgrading their pensions
- The number of FJUK members who were previously in the ICL DB plan and therefore have strong contractual protection will dwindle over time. The company could try to cut FJUK pension benefits by dismissing and re-engaging this group, rather than the whole workforce.
The national ACAS agreement also said:
“n) the company will set up a consultative body with which regular discussions can take place on pension arrangements relating to the FJUK plan – this would include representatives from Unite;”
No such body has been set up, and the company plans no action to do so. This deprives FJUK members of any way of having a democratic say in the selection of our Member Nominated Trustees. Instead the company appoints the majority of the trustees and the trustees themselves carry out the selection. This undermines this important mechanism introduced in legislation to help members keep an eye on their pension funds.
Unless we stop such breaches of agreements, we will have no say over the trustees who oversee our pensions, and we will allow the company to attack FJUK pension benefits more easily by dividing the workforce.
The highest profile case is Alan Jenney, the Deputy Chair of our national Combine Committee and a UNITE rep in Crewe. He was dismissed on 11th July under the guise of redundancy. In reality his dismissal breached both agreements with UNITE and his contract of employment.
Alan’s case is part of a wider pattern, with the company ready to bypass normal procedures to get rid of effective union reps, weaken the union and make it easier to worsen pay and conditions for all of us. We’ve had the high-profile disciplinary cases against Ian Allinson in 2007 and Phil Tepper earlier this year, which union members successfully fought off. There are a number of other examples which are less dramatic, but just as wrong.
Unless we stop such treatment of our reps, people will become less confident to get involved and we will not have the standard of representation we need.
“Levelling down” on Union Recognition, Redundancy and Redeployment, Pay, Benefits and Out Of Hours Working
UNITE has been working hard to “level up” the rights of employees across the company in recent years, for example:
- Securing the National Protocol Agreement to protect members doing union activity at workplaces which don’t yet have recognition
- Securing the national ACAS agreement
- Extending the Manchester Bargaining Unit to include MAN23
- Working towards union recognition for engineers posted to military bases in Germany
The ACAS agreement promised “the company will meet with Unite at a national level to discuss matters of mutual interest” but no meetings took place until we went into dispute.
Instead of improving the rights of staff across the UK, Fujitsu is trying to worsen them for those who’ve already won better rights through union recognition.
Manchester members also face:
- Breaches of the Recognition Agreement, with the company trying to impose changes without consultation or negotiation. Some examples are very serious (e.g. loss of about 1/3 of income and changes to working hours).
- Introducing worse payment terms for Our Of Hours (overtime, shift, standby, callout) without consultation or agreement.
- Serious breaches of the Annex 1 agreement on redundancy and redeployment, which would make compulsory redundancies far more likely in future.
- Breaches of agreements on pay and benefits.
- The company is resisting disclosing information UNITE needs to negotiate effectively and to monitor and correct the company’s failure to pay staff as much as they promised. Other breaches include failing to:
- Put D1-D4 and Rise+ levels onto the HR Database so that employees can see what level they are on via Self Service
- Complete appraisals in time for them to used for the pay review
- Establish an appeal process for role code changes
- Implement a mechanism to ensure people promoted have agreed plans on reward and development
- Carry out reviews for company car anomalies
Unless we stop such breaches of our agreements, far more people are likely to be made compulsorily redundant in future, pay and benefits will become even less fair, we face a “race to the bottom” in terms and conditions and employees will have no real say over how they are treated at work.
The PCS dispute is about pay, but the company’s failure to honour the commitments it made in previous pay agreements has been a significant factor leading to the strike vote.