Manufacturing is well behind other sectors in deciding staffing and pay rates for the millennium weekend, despite recent high-profile wage claims and settlements (News, 11 June).
In a study by Hay Management Consultants, most manufacturing organisations polled said they were still assessing their needs. And less than half of those surveyed had set up a committee to advise them.
Most are relying on published information from other sectors before setting rates. Only 9% of manufacturing firms had agreed which staff would be working and less than one in five had confirmed holiday and pay arrangements.
Stand-by and call-out payments are the most common form of remuneration for engineers expected to work during the celebrations.
About half of the manufacturers surveyed said they would restrict the number of days holiday which could be taken over the period, but the same number said they would offer premium payments for shifts.
After the emergency services, the utilities sector is the next furthest ahead in setting millennium rates. Engineers in the industry can expect up to four times usual rates plus one-off bonuses and additional holiday.
Cable & Wireless is paying its maintenance engineers up to four times their usual hourly rate plus a £250 fee between 31 December and 3 January. BT is offering its engineers two-and-a-half times its usual hourly rate for any shift between Christmas Day and 3 January. An extra £15 per hour will be paid for anyone working for three days over the period. An extra £40 per hour is on offer for working the Millennium Eve shift.
Scottish and Southern Energy is to pay £200 for staff either working or on standby on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day.
`We had to agree early because it was inevitable that some people would be working,’ said employee relations manager Jackie Anderson.
`Out people are expected to work Christmas and New Year, but this is a one-off weekend. It is a bit special.’
John Robinson writes for Personnel Today magazine