Ericsson has proposed that 38 permanent roles be offshored to Romania and to India. These roles will be all of those in the Back Office, and a number in Unplanned and Planned teams and in Optimisation and Performance.
In the case of Hayes it is proposed that remaining permanent roles would require individuals to move to Ericsson sites in Ansty (Coventry), Guilford or Newbury.
For Manchester the proposal is to maintain some roles in the current location and relocate others to Ansty.
Prospect and your representatives have challenged Ericsson over the decision to offshore work. We have stressed the devastating effect that job losses will have on our members and re-emphasised the union's opposition to compulsory redundancies. Members will remember that Ericsson themselves stressed the need to avoid these in presentations to individuals during the transfer process and also in the matrix of terms that transferred from Vodafone that was negotiated by Prospect.
It is clear that the decision to offshore is based on cost reduction; however the union has argued that attention needs to be paid to quality issues around work already moved to Romania under Project Almeria. Our view is that there are real issues caused by previous offshoring that are being masked by the professionalism and goodwill of our members in offices and the field in the UK working flexibly to fix.
We are not convinced that Ericsson is sufficiently aware of the extent of this and would welcome examples of these being brought both to our attention and to the business to assist in the consultation process.
Ericsson has advised us that 49 roles will be retained in the UK and that a process will need to be set up to select individuals for those posts. We will engage in that consultation process also.
Consultation on relocation from Hayes started some time ago and members have been aware that Ericsson was being asked by the customer to leave their building. In those consultations we have pressed for the longest notice to be provided to individuals and for mitigation to be considered to ensure that as many as possible are able to make a 'reasonable' journey to a new place of work.
The proposal to move some work from Manchester, coming within months of the move into that building from Warrington will be a devastating shock to members as it is to Prospect. We have asked Ericsson senior management to explain why they have proposed to cause significant disruption to employees and their families not only once but potentially twice. We cannot understand why the proposed move to Ansty was not being consulted over at the same time as discussions over the move out of Warrington.
We have also challenged Ericsson on the need to physically co-locate teams on one site given the company facilities already available in Manchester and the recent move of employees there. We will return to this consultation.
These proposals give significant issues for Prospect and our members working across Ericsson and the approach that the company seeks to take in consultation will be closely observed not only by members working in Hayes and Manchester, but their colleagues who rely on them in the field. Members working on other contracts too will, we believe want to see Ericsson undertaking a meaningful consultation process with Prospect that demonstrates a commitment to employees welfare.
Prospect's aim in consultation will be to
- Scrutinise the business case and impact of the proposal to move work offshore.
- Seek to reach agreement on redundancy terms on a voluntary basis.
- Ensure that redeployment and retraining is provided and resourced, including active steps to displace contractors.
- Engage in meaningful consultation with the business to mitigate disturbance due to changes in workplace where required.
These will not be in any sense easy to achieve, and the union and your representatives will need you and your colleagues support in pursuing these objectives; this includes asking non-members to join us. We will provide a progress report to members in due course but would welcome comments and feedback in the meantime either to your representative or to myself.