Report from Manchester members’ meeting

Thanks to everyone who attended today’s members’ meeting. This report covers the main points and decisions.
Reps reported on efforts to overcome current difficulties in the relationship with Fujitsu which are preventing issues being resolved promptly and leading to avoidable friction, and on delays in allowing reps outside Manchester time to work on issues and tasks affecting members both inside and outside the bargaining unit.
UNITE is awaiting updates from the company on many of the issues on the agenda for the members’ meeting.
Pay
Members discussed a report on the pay survey, the company’s plans for the pay review outside the bargaining unit, and on the progress of negotiations. Until yesterday UNITE had expected a company pay offer for members to vote on, but this was not forthcoming and a new timetable for negotiations has had to be agreed.
Concern was expressed about a new and unhelpful company stance on Agency Workers, which has delayed agreeing an updated Manchester Pay And Benefits Agreement which had been expected before negotiations for 2012 began.
The following motion was agreed unanimously:

Motion 1: Pay Offer
The company’s suggestions for the 2012 pay review outside the bargaining unit are better than in recent years.
The company only informed our negotiating team during this week’s pay talks that it had decided not to make an offer until it was ready to make one based on finalised standard company pay review guidelines.
We do not believe it is necessary or appropriate to delay the agreed pay negotiation timetable in Manchester simply because the process elsewhere is running late.
We believe that negotiations could have produced an offer for us to vote on today had the company been willing to base it on our claim rather than a confidential draft document.
We note that UNITE members had decided their 2012 pay claim for the Manchester bargaining unit after discussing a company presentation on its standard pay review plans. Even if Fujitsu offers us something based on the “standard” pay review as an option, we also want a negotiated offer that better reflects the needs and priorities of employees in the bargaining unit.

There was a discussion about the company’s failure to complete appraisals or provide information for collective bargaining in the agreed timescale.
The following motion was agreed unanimously:

Motion 2: Disclosure of Information for Collective Bargaining
As every year, the company has failed to disclose information for collective bargaining promptly and in line with our agreements. When problems were highlighted the company failed to respond promptly or adequately. This consistent obstructive practice delays and hampers negotiations.
We also note that despite requests, the company failed to inform managers of the need to complete appraisals for staff in the Manchester bargaining unit in the agreed timescale and failed to address this promptly when the lack of PACs was highlighted to them. All PACs were meant to be complete and informed to UNITE by 7th May 2012 and the failure to do so has also hindered and delayed negotiations.
We note that in 2011 UNITE was forced to make a claim to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) over the company’s failure to provide the required information for collective bargaining, and that this resulted in an agreement lodged with the CAC. We note that the company is now in breach of this agreement.
We welcome the latest company commitments to provide the information for collective bargaining this week. If the requested information is not provided to UNITE by the end of this week we instruct UNITE to lodge a claim with the CAC.

Redundancies
Reps gave an update on the Business Operations and Business & Application Services redundancy programmes, including a number of successes in protecting members’ jobs.
Members agreed the following motion unanimously:

Motion 3: Redundancies
We note that the company has handled the redundancies in Business Operations and Business & Application Services poorly, including breaking Annex 1 and the Security of Employment Agreement (SEA) in a number of important regards. Despite UNITE raising problems through the redundancy forums, through the Joint Working Group and directly with Duncan Tait, the company failed to address them.
We note that there are currently two employees in the Manchester bargaining unit at risk of Compulsory Redundancy in the near future and who are asking to stay. If these redundancies went ahead, they would be the first people in the bargaining unit forced out without their consent since Annex 1 was introduced in 2007.
We welcome the fact that Fujitsu has finally arranged to discuss the situation with UNITE tomorrow morning and hope that outcomes acceptable to both employees can be found.
If they are not, we instruct our reps to place the breaches of agreements and handling of these redundancy cases into the formal procedure for resolving collective issues.

UNITE is awaiting a response from the company to our request to hold off issuing notice to the two employees (or to withdraw the notice if already issued) for a two week period which would allow the company to consider the points put forward at tomorrow’s meeting rather than forcing UNITE to go into formal procedure.
Other Business
UNITE has created a new Fujitsu North-West branch which will include all members in the bargaining unit, plus those elsewhere in the region, including Warrington and Crewe. This will give UNITE in Fujitsu greater resources. Its first meeting will elect all the branch officers and other roles and members are encouraged to attend: 5:30-7pm, Thursday 7th June, 34GCR2.
Members are encouraged to join a Unite Against Fascism “Unity Rally” on Saturday 9th June in Rochdale against the attempts by the EDL and BNP to turn the recent sexual exploitation crimes into a divisive race issue.
The Fujitsu Manchester UNITE group will be holding its annual meeting on 22nd June, where all reps are elected. This will also be the meeting at which members will vote on the “stage 2” pay offer, so members were asked to pencil this in their diaries now.
Christopher Jones, who has been a very active UNITE rep, has (voluntarily) left the company. His contribution has been much appreciated.
Members are encouraged to return the “Move Survey” which is being handed out to gather views on issues following the MAN35 closure. This is relevant whether you have personally moved or not. Please also encourage other members and non-members to complete the survey too.

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK are fighting over job security, for union recognition, against victimisation of reps, and over pay and pensions. Members nationally took industrial from 28 February including 15 days of strikes and ongoing action short of strike, after 12 days of local strikes in Manchester.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED but members have voted by 92% to reject a company offer.

Further information is available here including a downloadable appeal for support leaflet and how to donate to our strike fund.

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