Call to include ‘social consequences’ in sale negotiations

The AXA European Works Council secretariat has called on AXA management for the inclusion of social consequences in any future negotiations over the sale of any parts of the business to another party.

In the February bureau meeting today with Group HR, a review of the Friends Provident sale led to this call when the level of compensation to members of AXA‘s Defined Benefit pension scheme was discussed.

Management agreed that it was important that social partners (such as the European Works Council and unions) were involved as early as possible but this can depend on the third party agreeing to this.

Pension provision in Friends Life

Unite members have asked for details as to the state of negotiations in respect of pension scheme arrangements for AXA employees that are transferring to Friends Life. Unite can confirm that as yet no actual pension offer has been put to the union for consideration.

When formal proposals are received, Unite will then seek to analyse them (and the supporting data) with a view to consulting with Unite members, possibly including a ballot.

One of the requests that Unite have put to Friends and AXA is that transitional pension arrangements are agreed to be put in place for a suitable period following the sale (date now estimated as 7th September).

Even at this late stage it is most important to get issues such as pension provision right, so Unite are not intending to rush into agreeing any proposal received as a “done deal” by the transaction completion date.