To: All members Hitachi London North Pole


Dear Colleague,


As you know there has been on-going dialogue on two important issues with Hitachi in recent weeks.

Following the recent agreement in principle with Hitachi to recognise RMT for Collective Bargaining and Representation at North Pole we have been in dialogue with Hitachi and have been exchanging versions of a collective bargaining document.

We are at the conclusion of that process now and I am hopeful that by the end of this week we will have a final proposal document to present to our National Executive Committee for endorsement and sign-off.
Assuming that is agreed, we can get our Representatives elected and then really get on with the job of engaging with Hitachi on behalf of our North Pole members. I will advise you when the process is complete.


In the meantime we have been engaging with the North Pole management team including Nick Latchford on the contentious issues around the shift rosters and the related annual leave arrangements.
We have advised Management that we expect these issues to be negotiated in full through your trade union.

Management, for the purposes of this dialogue, have taken the position that they are only seeking to change the roster to a basis of 8-hour/3-shift working within the current contractual arrangements.
But this change would imply members on the current roster arrangements being rostered for an additional 79 shifts per year, and after the standard leave entitlement is taken working a similar number of additional shifts per year worked compared to the current arrangement.

Nick Latchford has advised RMT that he is in a position to issue such a set of shift patterns now.

In response, RMT advised him that seeking to impose such a drastic change in the current arrangements was bound to create a strong response from our members.

It is clear to RMT that by waving around the prospect of 8-hr/3-shift working Hitachi is seeking for North Pole staff to pick up the other option of accepting a reduction of up to 10 shifts per year of the current holiday arrangements.

For RMT the position is clear – we will not accept the imposition of any arrangements outside of negotiation and agreement.

This means that RMT will maintain our position that there should be no changes to your current contractual terms and conditions (including 33 days annual leave per year) and no alteration to your rosters without negotiation and agreement with your elected representatives.

We expect and demand that this issue is dealt with through a proper process of negotiation in order to reach a settlement.

It is important that members focus on this issue of not allowing the company to impose change outside of agreement.

It has been agreed with Nick Latchford that RMT will consult our members on their views and we will speak again once that has happened.

Safety and Operational Standards

I am also concerned about the safety and operational standards at NPL and our members have expressed their concerns. This is a key priority for RMT. However, safety cannot be dealt with in isolation and the issues at stake demonstrate that we urgently need to put in place the representational structures that come through recognition so that we can deal with all issues at North Pole.

Therefore, I will be sending members an on-line survey on these issues so that we can gauge your opinions before we commence further discussions with the company.
In the meantime thank you for your continued support of RMT and please encourage your colleagues to join RMT at www.rmt.org.uk/join - the greater our numbers the greater our strength.

Yours sincerely,

Mick Cash
General Secretary