Union hits EDS for pay increase

Staff morale at EDS is at an all-time low after management refused an across-the-board pay rise in line with CPI increases, according to the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA).

EDS claims performance increases are more relevant than CPI and is part of a non-union collective agreement between the company and employees.

However, the APESMA says some staff haven't received performance pay for up to seven years which has created low morale and led to the association launching a recruitment drive to lure EDS employees.

There has been no talk of strike action yet but APESMA CEO John Vines said the association is keen to address employee concerns and is willing to negotiate a pay rise for Australian staff.

"We have good support from employees, most of whom are calling out for assistance," Vines said.

"The collective agreement proposed by the company is an insult to employees. It enshrines the EDS internal individual salary review process and fails to address the issue of remuneration and in a significant proportion of cases, employees have not received a salary increase for up to four years.

EDS has held discussions with APESMA but Vines described them as an "unproductive".

"In last four years EDS has not awarded CPI increases, the only pay increases are from performance reviews and only a small number of people get that," Vines said.

Vines said one EDS staffer, who had been placed in the top 5 percent of EDS workers globally since 1999, hasn't had a single raise.

"This employee was promoted nearly three years ago and even that had to be negotiated with the North American head office," he said.

"Another EDS employee claims staff are expected to be on call without remuneration, and supply their own mobile phones."

A survey by APESMA found 80 percent of employees support negotiations for a collective agreement, 65 percent believe their salaries are well below the norm and 60 percent felt morale was either poor or very poor.

EDS human resources manager, David Jenkinson, said apart from a meeting with APESMA five weeks ago they have heard very little from the organization and have not been contacted by APESMA since.

Jenkins staunchly defended EDS' pay for performance approach and said it is industry practice as opposed to just rewarding people with a CPI increase.

"These people are professional employees - our 'people' agreement has been in place for six years. We negotiated directly on wages with employees in 1999 and again in 2003 and 90 percent of employees were happy both times," Jenkinson said.

"We only have individual contracts for senior positions within EDS and use a collective agreement covering more than 3500 employees overall.

"What we are now putting forward to employees is a new set of benefits which include 12 weeks paid maternity leave (they currently have six), as well as two weeks of paid paternity leave. This is in addition to salary packages and flexible arrangements like cashing out leave."

Jenkinson said EDS is aware staff morale isn't perfect but is attempting to improve it through a series of employee "team talk" sessions.

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