Annualised hours was something that was introduced during my time in Ebbw Vale in order to get grip on overtime. What it amounts to is that you got prepaid an agreed number of hours of overtime in your standard pay package, meaning that the company could then call on you to work those hours without having to pay you overtime rates. During my time in Ebbw Vale I had no such hours allocated, since my work pattern did not call for regular overtime work, and if for some trials I was working extra hours, then those were cancelled out by some extra time off on another occasion.
That all changed when I joined the PEGS team in Llanwern and got allocated 200 hours of annualised hours because everyone else in the PEGS team had the same allocation. Which some people may have used because of regular trial attendances, but I personally didn’t. Still, I didn’t fell like I was defrauding the company since I put in the hours through long workdays, even though that was strictly speaking not overtime.
I later heard that the reason for the high allocation was that the people in the PEGS team, who had joined as fresh graduates, had not had a pay rise for the past 2 or 3 years, and were now on a lower salary than fresh starters who had just joined the company. Still, two wrongs don’t make a right and presumably the habit to give someone a pay rise by allocating them a large number of annualised hours must have been more widespread, because at some point someone must have made the decision to reign in those excessive hour allocations on the basis that if you don’t use them, you loose them.
Which was something that reached me when I heard of this decision when the financial year was already more than halfway gone. So I started to record my real working hours from that day on, rather than the standard 7 1/4 hours, and ended the year with a recorded 130 hours of time worked above the standard time. Except that it still was not overtime, strictly speaking.
When we were part of the Cold Mills Technology team there some of the older members with annualised hours, and newer members without them. On the pretext that this was unfair on the latter, the next year everyone got allocated 20 annualised hours, meaning that this year I lost a further 110 hours. The result if this was that during those two years my pay did not go up at all, since the annual pay rise was offset by the loss of 180 annualised hours.
And then I was asked to join Lianne Deeming’s Process Development Group, which normally carries a small increase in your pay – however, because my new contract no longer included any annualised hours that pay rise was nullified. Still, at this stage I didn’t mind getting rid of the whole sorry saga of annualised hours which were not really suited for my circumstances, and besides, it achieved my goal to move to Port Talbot, which I saw as having a safer future than Llanwern.