Following the rejection of AXAâ€™s pay offer for staff in Northern Ireland in the recent pay ballot we re-engaged with management to try and come up with a proposition that our members would find acceptable.
Feedback from you overwhelmingly focused on the inequities in terms and conditions, especially those in the Derry Service Centre and the rest of Northern Ireland. Whilst the company had indicated a willingness to engage on this later in the year, it was clear to us that you wanted to see some progress now.
After further negotiations with AXA yesterday, we are pleased to advise that they have agreed to the following as part of their 2019 pay offer:
- Under the company sick pay scheme, absence will now be paid at full pay once length of service requirements have been completed. This means that the first three days will no longer be unpaid nor days four and five only paid at the statutory sick pay rate.
- Terms and conditions review negotiations for Northern Ireland will commence in October of this year.
Unite in AXA are pleased with the improvements that have been offered as this will have an immediate benefit for a large number of members and feel that, combined with the increased pay spend in Northern Ireland of 3%, this revised offer is one we can recommend to members to accept as the best that can be achieved through negotiation.
Unite will ballot members across Northern Ireland the week commencing 3rdJune 2019.
Unite members in AXA Belfast and the Direct Branch Network have voted to accept the company offer of a 3% pay pot and a new starters salary of Â£12,400, rising to Â£13,400 after probation.
The balance of papers were not returned.
These figures are similar to the voting on the AXA UK pay offer were members voted 88.05% in favour of their offer and hopefully demonstrate that the vast majority of Unite in AXA members were pleased with the efforts of the union negotiating team.
Following negotiations in Belfast last week, Unite in AXA has recommended members in Northern Ireland accept the management offer of a 3% pay pot that should see 75% of staff who are currently lower in the salary bands receive an average of 3.75%.
In addition to pay, another of other matters were discussed and these included the clarification of scheduled and non-scheduled bank holidays for branch staff, that any branch employee working on a scheduled bank holiday can choose between time off in lieu or overtime as opposed to it being management discretion, a review of the Northern Ireland staff handbook in comparison with the UK and ROI handbooks and the introduction of an annual payment of Â£60 to fire wardens in line with the rest of the UK.
Pay talks for AXA Ireland staff in Belfast and the branches in Northern Ireland are due to commence on Wednesday 13th April. If you are a member in the bargaining unit please provide the two Belfast reps with your views on what you would like to see regarding this year’s pay award.
Further, management have now agreed that, following union representations on the matter, to close the Northern Ireland branches on the public holiday for the Royal Wedding, not open them as they originally planned.
After consultation with Unite in AXA, AXA Ireland have agreed that the existing UK recognition agreement be extended to cover the Derry Service Centre in Northern Ireland.
Union reps from Belfast and Dublin will be on site from 31st March, holding a series of organising meetings with staff to explain the benefits of union membership and recruit new workplace reps for the site.
Unite in AXA reps from Belfast and Dublin met with National union reps yesterday and the situation in relation to the Derry Service Centre operation was again discussed.
The operation of a low cost non-union premises is not acceptable. The Derry operation serves to undermine the position of staff in Ireland, both North and South, as there is always a low cost alternative to members jobs. This represents a threat to job security either side of the border.
All agreed on a course of action to try and remedy this situation by bringing Unite representation to the Derry operation. By doing so, we can address the contract differences between the operations and forestall any attempts by the company to use Derry as a threat to drive changes in terms and conditions throughout the island of Ireland.