Prospect had already written to E.ON’s Vice President, HR Maria Antoniou to make our position clear and also contacted the European Works Council to raise our concerns.
We now want to explain directly to Premier Oil that the redundancy terms confirmed in 2015 by E.ON should be treated as having contractual force. On this basis Premier should not be seeking to re-write the staff handbook to remove contractual entitlements, and if it does Prospect supports the recourse to raise individual grievances in the first instance, as employees look to protect their position.
In summary we have asked that:
‘Premier Oil responds positively to the demand that the enhanced redundancy payments promised by E.ON are made, removes the threat to make 2016 bonus conditional on signing a settlement agreement, removes the threat to make arbitrary and unlawful changes to the staff handbook and engages Prospect in the collective consultation and individual grievances.’
We will let you know what response we get from Mike Fleming.
It isn’t clear how the company will deal with potentially 100 individual grievances. Prospect will need to review its potential role in supporting/attending.
However, we encourage members to hold Premier to account in individual grievance meetings and offer the following tips for attending hearings:
- Be calm, professional, and assertive
- Have all the relevant documents with you, including the written statement of your case with a spare copy to hand to the hearing manager
- Mark clearly any documents you intend to refer to in the hearing (e.g. emails from E.ON E&P about redundancy terms).
- Ask for a copy of the minutes before the meeting starts and remind the hearing manager afterwards.
- Ask questions of the hearing manager if something is said that you do not understand.
- Don’t allow the focus of the hearing to move on to items that are not in your grievance.
- If you are not sure about an answer, or hear something from the hearing manager that you had not expected, ask for an adjournment to consider your response.
- Where possible seek to be accompanied. Prospect MAY be able to attend depending on the number of individual requests we get and the length it takes for each meeting.
- Clearly explain the outcome that you are seeking from raising the grievance.
- Ask when you can expect a decision to be made by and note down what is said for future reference.
As you will appreciate Prospect is not able to provide legal assistance where members have joined the union with a potential problem. However our commitment remains to use our officer’s best endeavours to amplify your collective voice to achieve an acceptable outcome for our members. This is despite having no collective bargaining arrangements in place in E&P and up until very recently having no union members.