Yell Pay and Restructuring - April 2011

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Yell Pay and Restructuring - April 2011

Members at our all-members meeting last week will have heard us discuss the very difficult context to this year's pay negotiations and you will by now have received notification from the company of their intention to keep pay levels for 2011/12 at the same rates for all people in Yell UK.



Your Prospect representatives appreciate the disappointment that members will feel about the company's decision here. The context is crucial in understanding it however.

It is well known that Yell are suffering not only from the wider economic downturn but also the fundamental changes to the industry in which the company operates and also the management of its debt. The decision on pay this year was made against a backdrop of further decline in revenue and EBIDTA. Print continues to decline at around 25% per quarter whilst new media revenues are increasing on average 8% per quarter (although they still account for only 30% of the total revenue base).

It is clear that the priority for Yell at the current time is to remain a viable entity going forward and Prospect are acutely aware that this is the best way of protecting as many members jobs as possible. Mike Pocock has set out a clear strategy for achieving this and we are hopeful that will receive a positive response when presented to the banks.

However that strategy does outline the necessity of continued cost constraint. This, against a backdrop of a relatively stable workforce and reasonable Tell Yell results (we had expected a substantial drop in the satisfaction rate there which hasn't happened as sharply as we would have anticipated) are what have contributed to the company's decision on pay. Your prospect representatives went over a number of options with the company to see if there was any money at all that could generate an across the board increase for members, including the possibility of non-consolidated increases. We are satisfied that all options have been fully considered and it is disappointing that there was no way of being able to achieve this.

Your Prospect representatives did however seek, and receive, an assurance that all Yell UK people will be treated in the same manner as well as a commitment to a benchmarking review of Prospect grades found to be significantly below the market average. We are also pleased that the company have committed funds to rectifying any significant anomalies arising from this review.

Under the circumstances your Prospect representatives do not believe that any form of action by members would be able to achieve a different outcome to these discussions.

Restructuring

Further to our earlier communication the company have now held the first meeting of the Consultative Forum set up in response to the recently announced plans to outsource 118247 and Business File to India. As previously advised we understand that these proposals would further reduce UK permanent headcount by around 224 (7.5%), putting 14 MPG roles at risk. We understand that all individuals affected will by now have received notification of this from their Line Manager along with an explanation of their options and the next steps in the consultation process.

The company have committed again to achieving resulting 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, and its related process, are attached.

The meeting discussed the Redundancy payments that would be made to individuals affected by this restructuring exercise. The company signalled that they would pay the same redundancy terms as they have in previous restructuring exercises (although here individuals will be paid in lieu of notice or will work their notice, not both) and your Prospect representatives have welcomed this news. Members will know that the company's redundancy terms are at the higher end of what is paid in the private sector and members will want to know that the company have indicated that, after this round of redundancies, they will in future look to pay terms which are more in line with the market average.

A detailed Q&A document, covering all of the issues discussed as part of that first round of discussions has been agreed and is attached for your reference.

Should you have any questions or queries at this stage please do not hesitate in contacting us. The next meeting of the consultative forum will take place on 14th April 2011 and we will communicate any further developments from that meeting as soon as possible after it has taken place.

Remember we are here to support you

We know this is a difficult time for you but you remember we are here to support you - your branch representatives are here if you need to talk about the effect of this on you personally - please contact them on prospect@yellgroup.com. Alternatively you can contact me at connect@prospect.org.uk or on 020 8971 6034.

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.