Below inflation rises aren’t sustainable, CWU warns Computacenter, as members begrudgingly accept 5%Computacenter, Telecoms & Financial Services June 6 2023
Members in Computacenter have delivered a pointed message to management that an inflation-plus increase next year is essential – with more than a third of those participating in a consultative ballot dismissing this year’s ‘final’ offer as insufficient.
Despite a 34% ‘NO’ vote on a 75.8% turnout, however, a clear majority of those casting a vote opted to accept a 5% across-the-board increase on base salary and salary related allowances – meaning the settlement will be paid in this month’s salaries, backdated to January 1.
But with even the Government’s preferred CPI inflation measure still standing 8.7% (the time-honoured RPI measure is considerably higher at 11.4%) – and earlier Bank of England predictions of a rapid decrease in inflationary pressures now in tatters – members of the union’s ex-BT and ex-Santander Technology bargaining units in the outsourced IT services provider are still braced for a probable reduction in their real-term spending power in 2023, unless the inflationary outlook changes dramatically.
At the time pay negotiations commenced this spring, by contrast, most financial experts were expecting inflation to fall sharply from April as eye-watering increases rises in fuel prices and many other basics last year dropped out of the annual comparison.
But in actuality soaring prices have caused inflation to be far ‘stickier’ than anticipated – with even upwardly revised predictions that CPI will fall to around 4% by the year’s end now looking distinctly optimistic.
CWU national officer Allan Eldred explains: “This year’s pay discussions again took place against a backdrop of extreme economic uncertainty and the highest rate of inflation in decades, which many so-called experts have failed to accurately predict.
“Although the union’s national negotiating team was far from ecstatic about Computacenter’s ‘final’ offer , we were conscious that it was directly in line with the average increase in pay across the private sector of the UK economy.
“It was also at the high end of Computacenter’s range of pay increases this year across their employees under their performance related pay arrangements – so the offer did stand up to comparison and scrutiny and, as such, we put it out to ballot with a recommendation of acceptance.”
Allan stresses, however, that management should not construe the ‘Yes’ vote as anything other than a pragmatic acceptance by 66% of those polled that deals that are negotiated in good faith can suddenly look less positive on account of rapidly changing economic fundamentals.
Thanking all those who cast a vote for making their lukewarm view of the 2023 settlement abundantly clear, Allan concludes: “Throughout this years’ negotiations we forcefully advised Computacenter that, despite forecasts of rapidly reducing inflation, the pressures resulting from the current cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on our members – and I genuinely believe that message was taken on board.
“As such, I’d urge management to reflect carefully on the calm but very clear message delivered by their workforce that any offer that is below-inflation pay offer will not suffice next year.”
Members across Computacenter are urged to share this story with any of their colleagues who are not currently members of the union. Any team member employee can easily and quickly join the CWU by clicking here.