Changes to the Yell Expenses Policy and Restructuring in 118 24 7 & Business File - May 2011

Changes to the Yell Expenses Policy and Restructuring in 118 24 7 & Business File - May 2011

You will by now have seen the company's proposals to change the expenses policy.



This change will see all employees who have a company provided mobile phone have a £20 per month charge imposed on them as a 'contribution' towards their 'personal usage', the introduction of a £250 excess charge for any damage to company cars provided to employees by the company, the withdrawal of home broadband for non-home based employees, changes to the Healthcare scheme and changes to the processing of expenses. Whilst this was shared with Prospect in advance of publication it has not been agreed with us.

Prospect have argued strongly to the company that imposing a £20 charge on mobile phone users is both arbitrary and unfair - not everyone who has a company provided mobile phone will use it for personal use and those that do cannot be guaranteed to run up £20 in calls in any or every month. Whilst we acknowledge that the company has stated individuals can opt out of this by claiming back the cost of business calls made on their own personal mobile phones we are also conscious of an individual's right to privacy and members will have legitimate concerns about having their own personal mobile number provided to clients etc. We also raised with the company the unfairness of imposing such a charge on individuals who are required by the company to be on call. The company are still considering this. We understand that at least one department has been briefed that if the company requires someone to have a mobile phone and/or be on call or available then the £20 charge will not apply. If you are not required to be on call you are not required to have a company mobile phone and if you do not wish to use your personal mobile for business purposes and do not wish to pay the £20 charge you should hand your company mobile back to the company.

Similarly those members who are not home-based workers do not need to work from home therefore if you do not wish to provide your own home broadband to facilitate a VPN link-up you should not do so.

We also urged the company to look again at the proposed introduction of a £250 excess charge for any damage to company cars provided to employees by the company. We made the point that third party damage to company cars, claimable through the third party's insurance, should be excluded from this charge. The company confirmed that this charge will only apply where the individual is liable i.e. the collision was their fault or no third party can be citied. The liability is the decision of the insurer and not Yell and we understand the details of liability definitions are at this time being finalised. Again we must advise members that if you are not required to have a company car and do not wish to be subject to such an excess then you should hand your car back to the company.

We have pointed out to the company that these decisions will restrict our member's flexibility and willingness to go the extra mile to deliver for the company.

Restructuring in 118 24 7 & Business File

Your Prospect representatives, along with Yell's other employee representatives, have met the company on a number of occasions recently as part of the collective consultation process to discuss their proposal to further reduce UK permanent headcount by around 224 (7.5%) by off-shoring the 118 24 7 and Business File operations to India.

During these discussions representatives appealed to the company to consider alternatives to off-shoring. We have also discussed the number of roles affected, the quality of the service that might be provided to Yell by the new supplier, the level of training that would need to be provided in India by UK workers should the proposal proceed, the support that would be provided to those individuals and the redundancy/outplacement terms that would be available to those that would leave the organisation if the proposal proceeded.

118 24 7 and Business file are important business resources to Yell. However the company's financial position is well known and it will be of no surprise therefore that the principle driver for this proposal was the £3.2m cost savings that the company could achieve from it. The company has been open to considering alternatives but nothing put forward was found to result in the same or similar cost savings. The company have therefore, as you will have seen, taken the decision to proceed with outsourcing these functions to India.

Whilst this would strictly be a transfer of engagements under TUPE legislation obviously this would be complicated by the geographies involved and as such it is likely that reductions will be achieved by way of redundancy. Prospect understand that this puts 14 MPG roles at risk and the company will now enter a period of individual consultation where all affected by the proposal will have a one-to-one session with their manager to explore their options. Remember that expressing a preference now is exactly that, a simple expression of preference - there is no guarantee that the company will be able to meet all preferences expressed. The options available to individuals affected and the next steps are outlined in the agreed Restructuring Policy.

We are pleased that the company have agreed to pay the same basic redundancy terms as in previous redundancy situations. The only difference on this occasion is that individuals will either serve notice or receive a payment in lieu of notice, not both. The outplacement payment also remains however the criteria for payment has been tightened to ensure the money goes to training which has a direct impact on finding new alternative employment.

We understand that the company will need some individuals from the existing teams to go out to India to facilitate training of Wipro workers and the handover of work. We understand that interest in these visits is high. To this end we have worked with the company to agree a set of selection criteria that will be used to objectively select those individuals that are best placed to undertake this work. We have also sought to ensure that the arrangements put in place to support these individuals during their time in India are safe, of a decent standard and conducive to achieving a work-life balance.

Remember we are here to support you
We know this is a difficult time for you but remember we are here to support you - your branch representatives are here if you need to talk about the effect of this on you personally - please contact them on prospect@yellgroup.com. Alternatively you can contact Johanna Baxter at connect@prospect.org.uk or on 020 8971 6034.

Remember Prospect have clear policies relating to individuals who join with a pre-existing issue. We are not able to assist with issues that are pre-existing. So if you have colleagues who are not already members they can join via this site.