Unite present cost of living support suggestions to AXA…

Following recent discussions between Unite in AXA local reps and our members to discuss ways of helping alleviate the cost of living crisis on employees in AXA UK, we have collated and submitted a list of suggestions to management.

Top of the list was a one-off cost of living payment. A number of financial services sectors have already made awards to their employees (most commonly £1000) and we have requested AXA do the same, looking at the most beneficial way to get the maximum amount into your pocket.

There were a number of other suggestions including increasing the benefits through MAX (especially supermarket discounts and adding energy providers); expanding the season ticket loan scheme to a general loan scheme; help on commuting costs including extending the repayment period for Cycle2Work; breakfast/dinner clubs; a lunch allowance for office workers; an employee hardship fund; the reintroduction of the homeworking allowance and the supply of heating equipment to employees who require during the winter months.

We have submitted the ideas to AXA management and are looking forward to their considered response as soon as possible.

Unite ask for sanitary product provision across AXA…

As part of Unite the Union‘s national Period Dignity campaign, and following the success of our union colleagues in Aviva and Legal & General, Unite in AXA have asked the company to provide free sanitary products across all of its sites.

At present provision is inconsistent with it available in some sites such as Middlesbrough, following our recent campaign, others like Manchester where the landlord provides and some like Bristol were a pilot is being trialled by Property. Other sites such as Ipswich have no provision.

We feel that the provision of these products should be consistent across all sites and are urging AXA to implement this as a matter of priority.

Unite ask AXA Insurance to help reduce commuting costs…

Since January this year the price of a litre of petrol has increased by 41% (a 62% since this time last year). This has an obvious major impact on the commuting costs of employees who have to drive to work

Obviously the price of petrol is not within AXA‘s purview to change, however it can help employees by reducing the need of employees to use petrol to drive to work.

If the pandemic proved anything, it was that AXA employees can efficiently work from home without any major drop off in customer service. Consequently we have asked AXA Insurance to revisit its requirement, in a number of business areas, that staff must attend the office two or three times a week. We have suggested that for the next three months attendance in the office is completely voluntary to help employees manage their expenditure on petrol.

Additionally we believe that over the summer period this will help with employee mental health by increasing the amount of time staff have at home (not sat in a car) as well as go some way to help the AXA Group’s stated desire to reduce the amount of carbon employee commuting contributes to global warming.

We will update you once we have a response from the company.

Increased holiday – a thankless task?

“We’re increasing the minimum holiday allowance from 23 days to 25 days after reviewing the market and listening to feedback from our employees…”

Whilst the increase in the minimum holiday entitlement for Associate and Senior Associate grades is very welcome, we are disappointed that the company communication fails to recognise the involvement of Unite in AXA in its implementation.

It might seem churlish of us to blow our own trumpet here, but it is important that members and employees are aware that Unite in AXA is continually involved in the uphill battle to improve their terms and conditions and know when this work results in something positive.

It was Unite in AXA that “reviewed the market” in the first instance, contacting the senior Unite reps in Allianz, Aviva, Legal & General and Royal & Sun Alliance to ascertain their holiday entitlements to compare to ours. Apart from Allianz, our main insurance competitors had an entry level of 25 days holiday (rising up to 30). This information we passed to AXA in January and it formed part of our pay negotiations when we asked for parity on holiday entitlement.

AXA agreed in February that, as part of the pay deal, it would review the company offering following the market data we had provided (see our newsletter 08.02.22). They did seem amenable to the idea of a market matched uplift and consequently we are pleased that out efforts earlier in the year have born fruit.

We don’t do our role in Unite in AXA to be fawned and receive praise, we want results not plaudits, but it is important that members and employees realise what goes on behind announcements such as this one from the company which whitewashes out the involvement of its employee representative bodies.

Postscript: since posting this the One page post has been updated to include reference to Unite in AXA ūüôā

AXA UK TUPE 280 IT staff out…

AXA UK have today announced that around 280 of its 620 IT staff will be transferred to Cognizant following a recent business review.

Unite, along with Vox in Healthcare and the Managers Forum were consulted on the proposed changes by AXA.

If you are affected by the proposed changes and have any concerns, please speak to your local Union rep.

Pay 2022 joint AXA/Unite statement

  • This statement applies to all AXA UK employees other than AXA Health or AXA Global Healthcare
  • The 2022 pay budget has been negotiated by AXA and Unite
  • A 4.5% pay review budget increase has been offered for the bargaining group,¬†¬†Associates to Professionals
  • 3% will be provided to Senior Professionals to Senior Leaders
  • Individual pay increases will vary based on performance and position in pay range, and will be effective 1 April 2022
  • Unite members will go to ballot (i.e. vote on the offer) between 8-17 February

Each year we review the pay budget (how much AXA has to spend on pay increases) and how it is distributed out to employees. These elements are negotiated between AXA and Unite for all AXA UK employees at Associate to Professional grades, except for those in AXA Health and AXA Global Health. 

AXA Health and AXA Global Healthcare have also released their own pay statements today and other AXA entities based in the UK will have their own pay arrangements.

Overall budgets

This year, the negotiation has concluded with an offer of a 4.5% overall pay budget increase for employees across the Associate to Professional grades. Separately, a budget increase of 3% will apply to the Senior Professional to Senior Leader grades. 

Why is AXA proposing a higher budget for our Associate to Professional grades compared to Senior Professional and Senior Leader grades?

This is because the main purpose of pay review for AXA is to keep pay rates competitive in the market, and careful external research and benchmarking has shown that in the Associate to Professional grades AXA needs to invest more to be competitive. We’re also aware that cost of living has been rising significantly over recent months and often this disproportionately affects people at these levels.

Whilst the overall budgets will be shared across all eligible employees, individual increases will vary based on the factors set out below. 

How AXA distributes pay awards ‚Äď matrix vs. discretionary approaches

‚ÄčAXA distributes¬†pay awards based on either a¬†matrix¬†or¬†discretionary¬†approach according to employee grade. Both approaches are described further below but first this table shows which approach and proposed pay budget value applies to each employee grade

Matrix pay distribution approach (Associate and Senior Associate)

The total 2022 pay budget increase (the amount available to spend) for this group is 4.5%, however the actual pay award for each individual will be influenced by their performance rating and the position of their salary in the pay range. Following the matrix below, this means that larger awards will be provided to those with a higher performance rating and those positioned at the low end of the pay range.

Further information about how pay is distributed using the matrix (including how to calculate your position in range) can be found on the My Pay page on ONE.

Discretionary pay approach ‚Äď Professional, Senior Professional, Leader & Senior Leader

Managers who are responsible for making pay decisions during the pay review process (also known as Pool Heads) will use their discretion to provide pay awards for employees in Professional to Senior Leader grades, keeping within the overall budgets.

A range of factors are considered when making a decision on an individual’s pay including their performance, the external market and comparison to peers. Outcomes are reviewed centrally to ensure fairness. The process for these checks and the guidance provided to Pool Heads ahead of pay review are reconsidered each year to ensure that they continue to be fit for purpose and lead to appropriate pay outcomes for employees.

Adjustments to pay ranges

Minimum salaries in the UK pay ranges will be increased in line with the new Real Living Wage for National and London (¬£18,018 and ¬£20,111, respectively, for a 35-hour FTE contract). Where necessary, these adjustments are being made in addition to the pay budgets described above. 

Separately, the pay ranges will be assessed to determine whether further upward adjustments are required, keeping the external market in mind. 

The revised 2022 pay ranges will be available in the Manager area on ONE towards the end of February and will be effective 1 April 2022. 

Next steps

Unite members will go to ballot on this offer between the 8 and 17 February. The final pay budget won’t be confirmed until the results of the ballot are known.

Individual pay outcomes will be formally communicated to employees in March and any pay increases will take effect from 1 April 2022.

There is more information on the pay review process on the My Pay page on ONE. Please speak to your line manager or Unite representative if you have any questions.

Claudio Gienal                                               Dominic Hook

Group Chief Executive                                   National Officer

AXA UK & Ireland                                           Unite the Union

A slight fox up…

Yesterday AXA Insurance issued instructions to customer facing staff around how to respond to anyone who asks them about fox hunting either by email or voice. Unfortunately there was no context to this and a certain ambiguity around the wording required to be used.

Staff are advised to say that “we do not provide insurance to the hunting industry, this includes trail hunting and legal services for hunts”. This is perfectly correctly for AXA Insurance here in the UK. Historically the company did provide some legal insurance in this area but no longer does.

We have discussed with the company at UK and international level the ethics around insuring legal, but publicly unpopular risks, and are pleased to see AXA Insurance no longer underwriting risks like this. Globally AXA has an ethical investment policy, we are pushing for an ethical insurance one as well to help protect the brand which in turn protects jobs.

Unfortunately however it appears AXA as a whole globally does provide insurance for hunting. AXA XL (one of the groups international operations with its head office in the United States) does underwrite policies for a variety of hunting activities. Whilst this is nothing to do with AXA Insurance here in the UK, the distinction between AXA XL run from the US and AXA Insurance run from London are no doubt irrelevant to those campaigning about fox hunting and similar activities. AXA after all is AXA.

We intend to discuss the AXA XL issue further in the appropriate forum with Group management, but would urge members to follow the instructions issued yesterday and if the caller is unhappy with the response, or abusive, that they refer the matter to their line manager to deal with. We would also like members to let your local union rep know so we can see what additional action can be taken by AXA Insurance if required to make the messaging clearer to upset individuals and also protect our members.

Jobs lost in Ipswich travel…

Following the exit of the Lloyds Banking Group scheme in November 2021, AXA Insurance have announced their intentions to reduce the number of staff employed within the travel insurance area of the business. This is due to a decrease in the number of staff required to support the function, as AXA UK plans to leave the travel insurance market.

Whilst many have been able to seek alternative redeployment within AXA, there will still be the loss of 73 jobs.

Unite in AXA are hosting a surgery on Friday for members impacted, between 12 and 1:30pm. Please contact one of your reps, who can send you the details. If you require any help or support, a list of your reps can be found here.