Members will have received notification of Yell's intention to undergo another restructuring exercise which will result in further headcount reductions as well as some recruitment into new roles. This announcement reflects the current very difficult circumstances in which the company is operating.
The latest quarterly results demonstrate further decline in the revenue of Yell Group of 8%. Whilst New Media has seen a recent increase of 8% this growth simply cannot offset the significant continued decline in print, which was down 12%. At the same time the company has, like others, been affected by the difficulties in the wider economy. All of this presents the company with continued pressure to reduce costs.
The company have committed to achieving these reductions by the use of the agreed Restructuring policy which emphasises the use of voluntary redundancy and redeployment. This policy sets out the process for dealing with the individual and collective consultation for affected individuals, the process for selection of individuals/groups affected and the company's commitment to re-training and redeployment. It is imperative now that you familiarise yourself with the detail of this policy if you have not already done so - it can be viewed here and its related process here.
The exact numbers and business units affected will be subject to a formal period of consultation, without time limit, between the company and the unions. We are aware that this will be a very difficult time for members but you should be assured that we will communicate further details with you as soon as they are available. Your representatives will meet with the company soon and will communicate further with members as soon as possible thereafter.
It is against this very difficult backdrop that this years pay negotiations have taken place. This has obviously had an impact on the company's ability to afford an increase. Prospect submitted a claim which can be viewed here. We have argued strongly that members should not be expected to forgo an increase for a second year. To this end the company have secured a small pot to fund an increase and the pay offer is outlined in their final offer letter which can be viewed here.
Members will note that the very limited budget available has resulted in a differentiated offer this year which is based on where individuals sit in the pay range. The pay ranges are split into three with those in the lowest third of the range receiving 1%, those in the middle third receiving 0.5% and those in the top third receiving a zero award. You should check the figures set out in the company's letter to determine where you sit within the scales.
We understand that this will be difficult for those at the highest end of their pay scale however we believe this distribution maximises the number of members receiving an award and ensures that those who are receiving least get more. We have received the company's assurance that distributing the increase in this way is an exceptional way of dealing with the difficult circumstances faced this year and does not set any precedent for future pay negotiations.
We have also received assurances from the company that all areas of the company are being treated equally - the total pots of money available to both Prospect and CWU graded members are proportionately the same.
Given these genuine affordability issues and the need to secure the company's future it is the view of your Yell Branch Committee that these proposals are the best achievable by negotiation alone. If you are not prepared to accept these you would have to be prepared to take some form of industrial action in an attempt to improve them and, since the issue here is affordability, even then there would be no guarantee that it would change the company's position.
All MPG members will be sent a secure electronic ballot to vote on these proposals and your Yell branch Committee recommends that you accept them. Members will have until the 17 March 2010 in order to cast your vote. If you wish to discuss these proposals further and cannot attend the members meeting please contact a member of the branch committee in the first instance.
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Members should be reassured that all parties are committed to working together to minimise the effects of these changes as far as possible. Remember that Yell value their relationship with Prospect.
There will be a members meeting held on 3 March to discuss both of these issues and we urge all members to attend - it has been arranged so that you can discuss these changes openly as a branch. Ben Marshall, Prospect's Assistant General Secretary, will address this meeting and answer any questions you may have. This meeting will be held at 12:30 in the Thames Room, Queens Walk building.
Your branch representatives are here if you need to talk about the effect of this on you personally - please contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can contact me at email@example.com or on 020 8971 6062. Additionally, as members will remember, your previous branch Principal Officer, Andy Neatham, recently left the company under voluntary release. However given these announcements Andy has very kindly offered to provide your branch representatives with additional support over the coming few weeks. Andy has been brought up to speed with recent developments and the company have welcomed the additional support that he will provide at this time.
Members considering their position can receive free independent financial advice via Prospect. Just go to the Connect Sector website click on the 'Services' menu, scroll down to 'Money and More' and then to 'Financial Advisors' where you will find all the relevant details you need. You may need your membership number to access this service - if you are unsure of what this is please just call our membership department on 020 8971 6000.
Remember Prospect have clear policies relating to the type of assistance that can be provided to individuals who join the union with an existing issue. Existing members receive priority and a wider level of service than those who join with an issue. So if you have colleagues who are not already members they can join here.
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