A number of the key issues which led to industrial action in Crewe and Manchester affect employees across the UK, including pensions, victimisation of reps, and the time reps have to work on your behalf.
UNITE is working with the company to produce an offer by 15th November. If members accept the offer, the dispute will be over. If members reject the offer, industrial action could resume.
UNITE has been campaigning for the full implementation of the national agreement reached through ACAS in February 2010. There were two important outstanding issues – contractual status and consultation arrangements.
Fujitsu had only given contractual protection to pensions for those members of the FJUK Defined Contribution plan who were previously in the ICL Defined Benefit plan. This left everyone vulnerable to future detrimental changes – even the ex-ICL DB members who would find themselves in a dwindling minority who could be picked off. Following the agreement on 3rd October, the company issued a statement which extends the contractual protection to everyone employed before 18th October 2011 – a big step forward. UNITE is talking to the company to finish off the job properly:
- Giving new employees the same protection to prevent existing employees becoming an increasingly vulnerable dwindling minority in future
- Giving equivalent protection to members of other Defined Contribution schemes
- Ensuring that the wording on Permanent Health Insurance and Life Assurance is legally adequate
- Correcting the typos in the statement
UNITE, along with colleagues from PCS and Fujitsu Voice (FV), has been in discussion with the company about the implementation of the commitment to set up a consultation body for the FJUK plan (which most employees are now in).
Significant progress has been made towards agreeing what the body could discuss. The composition of the body has not yet been agreed. UNITE (along with PCS and FV) believes it is important that some members of the consultation body are elected directly by FJUK for that purpose, to ensure the necessary specialist knowledge and focus.
If you haven’t yet signed, taken round and returned the joint UNITE-PCS petition on pensions, please help the campaign to protect your pension by doing so now.
Victimisation of reps
Stopping the victimisation of our representatives and achieving justice for Alan Jenney, deputy chair of our Fujitsu UK Combine Committee, are key aims in the dispute.
This week Fujitsu confirmed that it will meet with Alan Jenney and ACAS to explore a possible resolution to Alan’s Employment Tribunal claim. Alan was dismissed on 11th July through an unnecessary and unfair redundancy, in breach of agreements and his contract of employment. Alan was singled out as a result of the work he did on behalf of employees.
UNITE is talking to Fujitsu about potential new “facility time” arrangements. “Facility time” is work time when reps are allowed to carry out union duties and activities on your behalf.
The company would like reductions in the facility time available to some of the most active reps in Manchester – Ian Allinson, Lynne Hodge and Phil Tepper.
UNITE is not opposed to such reductions in principle, but its priority is to ensure that any new arrangements do not undermine the quality of representation for members. The union has proposed that any new restrictions in Manchester should be offset by improvements for reps elsewhere in the country. Many of the issues affecting staff in Manchester also affect people elsewhere, and it would be better to spread the facility time and the workload around more fairly.