Thanks to all the members who attended today’s members’ meeting in Manchester.
The main business of the meeting was to consider a new offer from the company which has significant national implications.
Members voted for the following motion:
We note the significant progress made on a range of issues since our strike on 19th September 2011.
We instruct our reps to accept the latest company offer and end industrial action immediately.
We remain concerned about the treatment of UNITE representatives and instruct our reps to call a members’ meeting promptly if it appears that this issue, or problems with implementation of the new facilities agreement, could jeopardise the standard of representation we require.
We resolve to talk to colleagues about what has been achieved through our campaign and to ask them to join UNITE so that employees have even more influence over future issues
Accordingly reps have now signed the new agreement which UNITE has published online.
The industrial action which was previously suspended should end immediately and all staff are encouraged to work normally.
Reps in Crewe are organising a members’ meeting to discuss the new developments.
Key points of the new agreement include:
- A new statement on the contractual status of Defined Contribution pensions for UK employees will be published, significantly improving the security of pensions.
- Small additional pay increases for most Manchester staff, backdated to 1st August 2011.
- Progress on addressing some of the outstanding issues with the Rise+ job and pay system for service desk staff, which will have benefits across the UK and deliver greater transparency.
- Renewed commitment to resolving issues and sticking to agreements, with a number of existing issues brought back into process, and the establishment of regular dialogue and an escalation route.
- A new facilities agreement (time for reps to carry out their responsibilities) which means:
- Phased reductions in the time for some of the most active reps to work on behalf of employees
- Removal of the limit on the number of Manchester reps
- A new arrangement where reps outside Manchester can have work time to deal with certain issues and tasks for the first time
- No recrimination or detriment for participation in industrial action or campaigning.
- A meeting will be held by mid-February to discuss establishing regular communication at a national level.
It was emphasised that we want to avoid the need for periodic disputes to enforce our agreements, and that the key to this is encouraging more staff to join UNITE and get involved.
In anticipation of the new agreement, five more new reps had been elected at a members’ meeting in November. Today’s meeting elected two more reps:
- Margaret Leigh (who will assist with administrative tasks)
- Paul Gee (who will work on the ATLAS TUPE)
Whether the new facilities agreement leads to a strengthening or weakening of union organisation will depend on whether members across the UK get more involved. Wherever you are based, if you’re willing to stand as a rep, please get in touch now. Arrangements are being made for a training event in work time during March.
As just one example, we urgently need volunteers interested pensions (training will be provided) as the new FJUK consultation body will be set up soon.
Out Of Hours
The company intends to start consulting UNITE about the introduction of the “interim guidelines” for overtime, shift, standby and callout to Manchester, which will clearly be a significant issue.
Some Manchester staff who were prematurely coded as on the interim guidelines will have recently received letters sent by HR but with UNITE reps names on the bottom. Unfortunately some of the information in the letters was not as agreed, so it is essential that if you received one of these letters you check it carefully and respond by the deadline of Wednesday 25th January.
Reps also highlighted Work Your Proper Hours Day on Friday 24th February, which highlights the vast amount of missing jobs and pay due to unpaid overtime.
Members discussed the latest proposed changes to expenses which would leave many members out of pocket. If you haven’t already signed UNITE’s online petition on expenses, please do so, and pass it on to a few colleagues.
Members took away bundles of the latest UNITE leaflet for IT Services companies to distribute and “UNITE for Fair Pay in IT Services” lanyards for ID passes. If you need any of either for your area, please get in touch.
The members’ meeting also heard a report on the reorganisation of UNITE branches. For background on this, see the web site of our Executive Council representative. Manchester members are currently in the “Greater Manchester IT Branch”. The branch has proposed to the North-West region that it is broken up and a new “Fujitsu North-West” branch is created. Discussions are taking place in other regions about the best way to organise.
UNITE members at Unilever are taking strike action this week alongside members of GMB and USDAW in defence of their pensions. A collection at the members’ meeting raised £85 which will be taken down to their picket line.
Greater Manchester Fire Service is facing cuts to staff and fire engines which are expected to further increase the time it takes for the fire service to reach incidents.