Two months on from our request that AXA take urgent action to help staff during the cost of living crisis by making a one-off payment and taking other measures, the company has today announced the award of £1,000 to those employees earning £33,000 or less, and an increase in the company minimum wage to £11 an hour.
These measures are, to a point, welcome and we are pleased that a number of staff facing real difficulties will now receive some help with the day to day issues they are facing. Approximately 900 employees will benefit from the increase in the minimum wage and 4,200 will receive the one-off £1000 award in their October pay packets.
However, Unite in AXA do not believe the company have gone as far as it could have and note that the award is at the lower end of those that have already been awarded in the financial services sector.
The imposition of an arbitrary salary limit to qualify for the award is, in our opinion, hard to justify for a number of reasons, especially when most other companies have not done this. It is divisive and we have asked the company to reconsider its approach by either removing the limit, increasing it, or applying the award to all those staff in Professional grades and lower. Whilst, as we have said, it is good news for 4,200 employees, there will be a considerable number in the 3,620 who will receive nothing in October, that are also struggling with the cost of living crisis.
The increase in the minimum wage is of course welcome, but again not without issue in that it causes problems with pay compression and the erosion of historic pay awards for those who are just above the new level. We have reminded AXA that it was agreed that we would jointly look at pay progression as a topic to help try and alleviate the problems that changes in pay scales can cause, and we are looking forward to working on this issue with them.
Overall today’s news is something of a mixed bag and its impact dependent on personal circumstances. We are pleased that our efforts will see 54% of AXA UK employees receive an extra ordinary one off award to help them in these difficult times. We have not however forgotten the 46% that AXA has chosen to ignore and we will continue to work on your behalf to get you the help that you also need.
Also, from our point of view, this is just a first step on the cost of living challenge and have made it clear to the company that today’s news is not all that can or needs to be done by it to help employees during the cost of living crisis.