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9 in 10 Commercial Staff Working Excess Hours…

The recent Commercial Flexitime Survey put into black and white, the stark issue of the amount of extra hours Commercial staff are having to undertake to support customers and the business, much of it without any form of compensation from AXA Insurance.

Over 250 employees completed the survey and almost nine in ten said they were working in excess of their contracted hours with over one-third saying they worked in excess of five hours a week extra. This is of concern as the main reason Commercial Operations senior management gave us in March for suspending flexitime was to avoid staff working excess hours for mental health reasons.

The vast majority of respondents said they were doing this to keep on top of their normal workload and worryingly one-third were doing this extra work without their manager even being aware.

Of those staff doing excess hours and where their manager was aware, despite the assurances of Jon Walker, head of Commercial, back in March that staff would not be expected to work excess hours for nothing, six in ten employees have been told by their local management that they cannot claim the extra hours they have worked supporting the business. 

Half of those staff had been told by their manager that they would not be compensated for the extra time they have worked as “flexitime been suspended/not available/withdrawn”, contradicting the promises made by senior management. The other half were not given a reason.

The results did not come as a surprise to Unite in AXA, we pointed out in March after flexitime was unilaterally suspended by management that staff regularly work excess hours to support customer need and in July flagged the issue that despite the promise Jon Walker made, local managers in many instances were not crediting staff with work done beyond contracted hours whether that be by overtime, flexitime hours banking or time off in lieu.

We have presented the survey to Jon Walker, Commercial HR and other senior HR managers and look forward to their response to our findings and what action they propose to take following receipt of the data that they requested we find to back up our previously raised concerns.

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Commercial Flexitime Survey

At the end of April Commercial Lines suspended flexitime without consultation with Unite. In subsequent conversations Commercial management stated they were doing this in the interests of employee well being so people did not work excessive hours at home. We disagreed with this citing a range of factors from business needs, to ways of managing the perceived problem, to the fact other areas in AXA Insurance still were operating flexitime eg. Claims,  but the decision had already been made.

Jon Walker, head of Commercial, assured us that no member of staff would be expected to work more than their contracted hours, and if they needed to for specific customer needs then they would no be expected to work for free and would be given the time back.

Regardless of that we have received numerous calls from members that this is not happening, or only after making a lot of fuss with their manager often requiring the intervention of their local union rep.

In July, with some staff now working back in the office, we suggested a phased return of flexitime but Commercial management have ignored our suggestion, eventually after two months of chasing, only offering to set up a working party to see how flexitime will operate in the future smart working environment (the hybrid, part home/part office one) even though that is at its formative discussion stage and no where near being rolled out.

Despite the anecdotal evidence we provided from members, Commercial management do not believe there is a problem so we have decided to survey as many staff as we can in Commercial operations across the country to evidence how widespread the issue is.

Consequently if you work in Commercial Lines (not in Claims or Finance doing Commercial orientated work) we would be grateful if you could complete this survey, and encourage your colleagues also, so we can pursue the matter of flexitime with senior management.

Please click here to access the survey.

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Increased working hours plan…

Members in AXA Teesside will now have seen management’s proposal to  increase working hours there from 35 to 37.5 per week.

The company are looking to extend what they introduced in Birmingham two years ago, ie. new starters on 37.5 hours a week and a voluntary increase in hours by individuals with pay increased proportionally.

The local Unite in AXA reps have now begun to engage with staff locally to enable us to consult further with the company.

If you work in Teesside and have a query, please contact one of your local reps.

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Is it time to be flexible?

Click here to read the latest Unite in AXA newsletter on the changes to flexible working rights.

Please leave your feedback below or talk to your local union rep.

 

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