Unilever restructuring alarms IT workers

IT professionals at one of the world's largest multinational companies are unhappy about a reorganisation of the company's IT...

IT professionals at one of the world's largest multinational companies are unhappy about a reorganisation of the company's IT function.

Paul Donovan

Members of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance (MSF) union at Unilever's Port Sunlight operation on Merseyside are already in negotiations with management over the impact the restructuring is having on pay and conditions.

The workers' complaints stem from a Unilever decision to bring together all the IT operations of its subsidiaries into one company. The conglomerate is to be known as European Services and located in St David's, North Wales.

Glynn Thomas, the North West regional officer for MSF, said the union was trying to establish a uniform set of terms and conditions covering all staff.

"We are seeking to negotiate a sophisticated pay system that combines performance related pay and inflation-linked rises," Thomas said.

He was insistent that no one would move to St David's until agreement on a uniform set of criteria has been reached with the company.

One IT worker from the homesector and homecare division of Unilever, who wished to remain anonymous, complained, "Lots of people are leaving or thinking about leaving. Some say that is the way Unilever want it, because they have an ulterior motive - to sell off the European IT company."

The MSF union is looking for guarantees that Unilever will not sell the business to a contractor outside the company.

"We are currently reviewing the entire remuneration package and are in discussion with those directly involved," said a Unilever spokesperson. "We are trying to achieve a package that ensures no individual is disadvantaged and the majority are advantaged. The discussions are ongoing."

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