We have also discussed the introduction of an Incentivised Leaver Programme (ILP).
As these issues cover members covered by union recognition that have transferred from BT, T-Mobile, Three and Vodafone the meeting was attended by a number of reps from across Prospect as well as senior management and HR from Ericsson.
The meeting and subsequent discussions have been constructive and professional.
We understand that the company has been briefing teams via team leaders and others this week and intends to also provide live presentations and an on demand video.
Ericsson has explained that they wish to move to a single, consolidated Field Operations group that is 'delivery performance oriented' and 'multi-customer capable'. This will mean that cost centre numbers change and senior reporting lines will change effective 1 June, with the first line management team now reporting to Tony Prescott, Field Services Director, directly. No other reporting line changes will take place at present.
However there is likely to be change of roles, reporting lines and structures over the coming months and Prospect will take part in discussions on this.
Prospect understands the arguments around commercial competition and the business rationale for restructuring the FSO. Prior to transfer into Ericsson many of our members were keen to explore the opportunities that might be available in Ericsson to gain new skills. We have stressed that we would want to work jointly with Ericsson to consider options such as contractor displacement as part of any restructuring and cost reduction exercise.
Members may be concerned about the non sustainability of the business model that was shared in the communication and where there have already been cost reductions as well as growth in winning new work. That said, we have made it clear that Prospect and our members understand the need for the company to work efficiently and competitively and we will engage with the company to that end.
The company has indicated that they would like to change the approach to how they reward employees as well as benefits and allowances. The company have explained that their preference is to reward on the basis of performance and results rather than hours worked. They have indicated that they wish to consult the union over the coming months on this.
Our initial thoughts are that bringing employees under a single framework of terms and conditions, some of which will be covered by collective agreements, contract and TUPE protections, is highly ambitious. Prospect are prepared to explore proposals reasonably, but both we and our members will need to be very clear about the impact before agreeing any changes to existing arrangements.
For employees working in the field services area, Ericsson has announced the option to apply for a leaver's payment. This payment would equate to 12 months basic salary and the aim is for the leaving date to be 31 October 2010 subject to operational requirements. The opportunity to apply is between 20 May and 20 June 2010.
Prospect welcomes the voluntary approach to this as a way of maximising choice for members. We have made it clear that we would not accept movement away from this approach, so if you feel that you are being pushed in an inappropriate way to make a voluntary decision please call a halt to discussions immediately and contact your union rep. Ericsson has also made it clear that an expression of interest in the scheme will not, if not accepted have any bearing on individual's future career.
This option is also available to those on maternity leave without the need to pay back company maternity pay, as well as those currently on secondment or sabbaticals. If you are in this position but have not yet had contact from your line manager you may wish to get in touch.
Ericsson has recognised the concerns that we have raised on the taxable status of the ILP payments and have worked with the union to agree a sensible outcome. Employees who have indicated interest and been accepted for an ILP will still be allowed to withdraw their application should the taxable status of the ILP payment become less favourable then the first £30,000 being tax free following a decision by the HMRC.
We believe that members will welcome this 'gate' as a practical approach which will enable members to make more informed decisions without those being detrimental.
We will continue to consult with the company and raise issues on behalf of members above and will report on progress back to members.
The FSO reorganisation and associated work on ILP and reward comes at a time where the union and your reps have never been busier dealing with issues.
Prospect will of course be pleased to discuss any concerns and comments with individuals members and their colleagues. If you have any colleagues who are not yet members of the union show please ask them to join by visiting
If you have any queries in the first instance please approach your usual Prospect rep, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query.