Monday, 7 April 2008

Connect meet Vodafone to Discuss Dismissals in Regional Ops

Connect has met with Vodafone to raise our members concerns about the recent dismissals in Regional Operations

Members will recall from earlier communications that these were done on the same day as notices of redundancy although the same terms were not, we understand, offered. Dismissals such as these occurred across the business; however we were able to raise this formally with the company in Regional Operations as the recognised union.

We have reminded the company that these dismissals fall outside of employment law and are not in keeping with Vodafone's own policies. Through these discussions we have ensured the company understands that this situation is entirely unacceptable to Connect and our members. It is important that decision-makers in the company appreciate that dismissing people outside of due process has a serious and negative impact. This impact is felt more widely than the individuals dismissed. Where an employer picks and chooses whether or not it follows its own policies it needs to understand that this will hurt trust and confidence in the relationship with its employees.

We have made it clear that shabby behaviour such as this has no place in a modern, successful company, particularly one that commits resource and publicity to presenting a positive image of employee engagement and 'passion' for its people.

The company has now sent a letter to Connect to respond to those concerns expressed on behalf of members. It is disappointing that they have declined our request to reinstate those individuals dismissed should that be what those individuals wish. Where those dismissed are union members we will, when requested, provide full support and assistance up to and including legal advice and this may include exploring the option of reinstatement. Unfortunately we are unable to extend this help to people who are not members of the union, or to provide full membership benefits to those not members when they were dismissed. The message loud and clear to non-members is that it is now time to join!

If any member is asked to attend a meeting such as this in the future please do not hesitate to call a halt to the conversation before contacting the union immediately.

To prevent issues like this in the future Vodafone needs to recognise why Connect and our members will not agree to the company acting in an arbitrary way. On that basis we note the company's written response that stresses the specific and individual nature of this situation and its statement that this is not a change in the normal approach to performance management within Vodafone generally and within Regional Operations specifically.

The company has agreed to work with Connect in Regional Operations to move forwards and put this 'one off' situation in a clearer context. In doing so we will needs to see the development of a workplace in which trust and respect between employer and employee is obligatory and genuine. Clearly there is much work to do on this, but we believe it is something that members will support their union in achieving.

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