Staff with the lowest performance ratings from last year's appraisal have until the middle of this year to improve their performance after receiving guidance from managers.
The appraisal rates staff on a scale of one to five, with five the lowest. An internal company document seen by Computer Weekly said, "Ensure that all 2003 four/fives are put on notice of weak performance and are aggressively coached to a level of satisfactory performance, or managed out of the company, no later than mid-2004 unless constrained by local statute."
Peter Skyte, national secretary of union Amicus, said staff appraisal systems should focus on improving staff performance and not "impose sanctions". He added that staff at Unisys were "up in arms" about the appraisal and had raised concerns with Amicus.
Bob Illingworth, human resources director at Unisys, said the company would give staff on low performance ratings training and reasonable time to improve their performance.
"Feedback from our staff employee opinion survey last October said that we needed as a company to improve the way we dealt with poor performance," he said.