Union members mull over new Computacenter offer

Computacenter IT staff working for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are making a decision this week about whether or not to continue their strike after receiving a new, informal pay offer.

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Computacenter IT staff working for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are making a decision this week about whether or not to continue their strike after receiving a new, informal pay offer.

Around 30 employees, members of the Public and Commercial Services union, have been working to rule and carrying out an overtime ban for a month over a dispute over pay. Computacenter had offered a “derisory” 0.4 percent pay increase – equal to £109 extra a year, which would have applied only to 2010.

“It [the new offer] is not substantially increased. However, an element does include 2011, so it is a two-year deal,” said Jayson Sloss, PCS negotiations officer.

A pay rise was due for employees in January, but negotiations have been taking place since then after Computacenter initially said it could not offer anything in response to the union’s demand for a three percent rise. The company cited the difficult economic situation. The union normally aims to negotiate an annual pay increase of around the annual increase in the Retail Price Index.

Since the industrial action started on 29 September, Sloss said that Computacenter “has recognised the industrial action has caused them some inconvenience.”

“We know it [the industrial action] is having an impact. Overtime has literally dried up, and they are having to bring in contractors to cover,” he added.

The strike will continue while the members consider the latest offer, and the results of the consultation will be presented to Computacenter at a meeting next Thursday. Depending on whether or not the members accept the new offer, PCS will be looking to either end the current industrial action, continue the existing action or increase it to strike action.

Computacenter declined to add anything to its statement at teh start of the dispute. "The 2009 pay award, to which this refers, reflected the difficult market conditions we faced, yet afforded some increase at a time when the pay of the majority of Computacenter’s UK staff, including senior management, was frozen.

"We always endeavour to offer pay increases where possible, but long term job security is also a key part of our pay strategy. As the 2009 pay award remains unresolved we are unable to comment further regarding awards for this year,” Computacenter said in September.

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