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Pay 2008 for Reading & Craigforth

Pay negotiations for this year are now complete in Reading and Craigforth and Unite have now balloted its members.

To recap, the proposal put to members was:

That all employees with a rating of 1, 2 or 3 will be awarded a 1.5% pay increase (with the exception of those earning a basic salary of over £60,000).

There will be a bonus

Capita will start to look at pay anomalies (in particular for lower paid employees)

The ballot results are as follows:

Accept = 89%

Reject = 11%

Turn out = 78%

Therefore the proposal has been accepted by our members and this has been communicated to Capita.

For Unite it is very important that we have a good turn out so that we know we are representing the majority of members. The ballot was open for 1 week (due to time constraints) and we are really pleased with the turn out of 78%.

Unite asked members for feedback who rejected the pay deal and we have been asked a number of questions. We have responded to each member individually, however if you haven’t had a response to your question, please let us know.

The key questions and responses are listed below.

Q. Why is the pay pot so low (1.5%) when Capita has had a very successful 2008?

A. Unite were disappointed at the 1.5% pay pot because Capita did have had a successful 2008. The 1.5% is low, however the country is now entering a recession and we have to be realistic. In January 2009 the Retail Price Index (RPI) fell to 0.1%. RPI is a key indicator used by trade unions and companies when negotiating pay. We are without doubt entering difficult and exceptional times and as such we feel that it is not the right time or climate to go into a dispute with Capita over the pay pot. Our key focus, in the current climate, has to be to protect jobs and other key terms and conditions. If the recession doesn’t have an impact on Capita (or its clients) and Capita continues to perform well, we do expect a much higher pay pot in future years.

For information, in recent weeks some non unionised finance sector companies have imposed pay freezes on their employees.

Q. Why did Unite push for and agree to an across the board pay rise?

A. Although we didn’t agree with the 1.5% pay pot, we did agree on the distribution. The distribution is very important and is almost as important as the pay pot. In other finance sector companies some pay pots have been higher (for example 2.5%), however due to the distribution being based mainly on market pay, the majority of employees, were not awarded a pay rise.

Given the exceptional times we face Unite wanted to avoid this. We have always argued that cost of living pay rises should be across the board and not based on market data. We have also argued previously that pay rises should be above RPI. Our pay claim this year asked Capita for an across the board pay rise. Capita have listened to our points.

Q. Surely pay rises should be based on performance?
A. Yes and no. Unite do not have an issue with performance related pay. Our position is that all employees who are performing should get a pay rise (for example based on the cost of living). Any additional money should be provided so that it can be distributed based on employee’s rating and performance. With only 1.5% available, we didn’t feel this would be possible. To base any award on performance would mean no pay rise (or very little) for the majority of employees. For performance pay to work effectively there needs to be a higher pay pot.

Capita recognised that the UK and global economy are facing exceptional times and that a 1.5% pot is low. We expect in future years that they will look to reward performance as this is their normal pay position.

Q. I didn’t get the chance to vote in ballot – I’m not a member and although I do get some communications I didn’t get this one?

A. We can only ballot members. Only members get a say on collective bargaining issues like pay. Unite have a collective bargaining agreement with Capita (for the areas/locations where we have recognition). This is important as it allows Unite to enter into talks and negotiate on behalf of employees on key issues and negotiations. Unite will ballot its members so that ultimately it is the members that have the final say.

If you are a member and didn’t get the ballot please contact us so we can make sure you are on future distribution lists.