2021 pay ballot now open…

The 2021 pay ballot for members in the AXA UK bargaining unit is now open and will close at 2pm on Friday 19th February.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis this years ballot will be undertaken electronically. Local reps will email members with instructions on how to vote. You will need your Unite the Union membership number to be able to vote. If you have not received an email with the instructions on how to vote within the next couple of days or cannot remember your membership number, please contact your local rep, a list can be found here.

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Pay 2021 – joint AXA/Unite statement

  • The pay review budget has been negotiated between AXA and Unite
  • This statement applies to all AXA UK employees other than AXA Health or AXA – Global Healthcare
  • A 1.5% pay review budget has been offered
  • Individual pay increases will vary based on performance and position in pay range 
  • Unite balloting will take place from 8th-19th February

This statement tells you the overall pay review budget (how much AXA has to spend on pay increases) and framework (how AXA will spend it) for 2021. This is negotiated between AXA and Unite for all Associate to Professional band employees in AXA UK, other than AXA Health or AXA – Global Healthcare.

Overall budget

This year’s talks have concluded with an offer of a 1.5% total pay review budget for employees in Associate to Professional bands. The same budget will apply to the Senior Professional to Senior Leader bands. Whilst the overall budget will be shared across all eligible employees, individual increases will vary based on the circumstances set out below. The same 1.5% budget will apply in AXA Health and AXA – Global Healthcare. Any pay increases will take effect from 1 April 2021. 

Associate to Senior Associate Pay Approach

Though the 2021 pay review budget (the amount available to spend) is 1.5%, actual pay awards for individuals will vary according to two factors – 2020 performance rating and position in pay range. This means that the budget will be geared more towards those with higher individual performance and those positioned at the low end of the pay range, following the matrix below.

Individual outcomes will be formally communicated to employees in March. 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.

Professional to Senior Leader Pay Approach

Senior managers who are responsible for pay decisions for the pay review process (also known as Pool Heads) will have full discretion to set pay awards within the overall budget for employees in Professional to Senior Leader bands. These decisions are made in the context of a range factors including individual performance, the external market and comparable pay between peers. Outcomes are reviewed centrally to ensure fairness and we have reviewed these checks and balances this year (including guidance given to Pool Heads) in order to ensure that they continue to lead to good outcomes for employees. 

Other adjustments to Pay Ranges

AXA UK will increase minimum salaries in the pay ranges in line with the Real Living Wage for National and London (£17,290 and £19,747, respectively, for a 35-hour FTE contract). The latest pay ranges are available on ONE and are effective 1 April 2021. There’s more information on the pay review process on the My Pay & Benefits pages on ONE. 

Next steps

Unite will ballot its members on this offer, with the ballot taking place between the 8th and 19th February.

Please speak to your line manager or Unite representative if you have any questions.

Other AXA entities based in the UK will have their own pay arrangements.

 Claudio Gienal                                                  Dominic Hook

Group Chief Executive                                    National Officer

AXA UK & Ireland                                              Unite the Union

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Reward in tough times…

Click here to read the latest Unite in AXA newsletter detailing the 2021 Pay Claim we have presented to the company. Please leave your feedback below or talk to your local union rep.

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Unite in AXA request help for struggling parents…

Last night the Government announced that it would be closing schools as part of the national lockdown, contradicting its position just 24 hours earlier and causing major problems for many parents.

Last year, to help parents, AXA extended its provision of paid emergency leave from five days to twenty which along with the ability to flex working patterns and holiday allowed many to cope with the circumstances they found themselves in.

Whilst the company has announced that the use of these twenty days can now be extended to April 2021, it is likely that most employees who have needed to use these days have probably used all of them in the first two lockdowns.

Most employees with childcare responsibilities in AXA will be able to manage their situation through working flexibly hours, taking holiday and sharing responsibilities with partners, although we appreciate that it can be difficult and stressful.

However there is a group of employees with younger children who in customer facing roles who cannot work flexibly and have no partner to share looking after their child(ren), and these need support beyond what the company is currently offering.

The Government Job Retention Scheme allows these employees to be furloughed and receive (at least) 80% of their salary, but the company has decided that it will not use the scheme, so this option which would address the problem is not available.

We have asked AXA to urgently review its policy to help this group of employees and solve a problem it has largely created itself by not utilising the scheme for the small number of employees who need the help it would provide.

If you have childcare responsibilities and have problems balancing them with your work in the first instance you should speak with your manager, but if you get no help there, please contact your local Unite in AXA rep for help.

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2021 Pay Survey…

The 2021 Unite in AXA pay survey can be accessed here.

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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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Widespread redundancies in AXA Claims…

Yesterday’s announcement in claims of the loss of 280 roles is extremely disappointing, even though this is mitigated by around 70 vacancies that will not be now filled being included in the total. Unite in AXA have been involved in a lengthy and detailed consultation process over the last few months regarding the business review challenging the company plans robustly. 

Whilst the business case is understandable, we are extremely disappointed that over the last few years AXA Insurance allowed the problems within Claims to grow to a point that now over 200 hard working and dedicated staff are facing redundancy through no fault of their own. 

The timing of the announcement and job losses is also disappointing given the negative impact on the jobs market due to Coronavirus. AXA have confirmed that in addition to the normal support staff at risk of redundancy receive, they are also engaging with other companies who are looking to recruit to facilitate impacted workers finding new jobs.

If you are a member at risk of redundancy, please speak to your local union rep if you need help or support. A list can be found here.

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Working From Home Survey…

Professor Phil Taylor, University of Strathclyde is currently conducting some research on Working from home (WFH). He is asking office-based workers to complete a survey.

Professor Phil Taylor said: “As you know there is a big push for a Return to Work (RTW). Trade unions are clear – workers should not RTW until they have complete confidence that it is safe to do so. This survey will capture workers’ concerns regarding RTW. It will also gather crucial data on your experiences as unions develop bargaining agendas that represent members’ on a range of issues – health and safety, mental ill-health, pressure of work, work life balance etc. Many thanks in advance for your help with this vital research.”

You can access the survey here.

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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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