Agreement reached over O2 outsourcing to Capita

An eleventh hour deal has been reached over plans to outsource thousands of jobs from Telefonica o2 to Capita. The agreement - which includes far better protection for pay, pensions and terms and conditions - was reached after intense negotiations sparked by the union's strike ballot. The ballot has now been withdrawn.

Andy Kerr
Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "We don't agree with the principle of outsourcing jobs to Capita, and clearly neither do many o2 workers as 1,000 have opted to leave rather than work for Capita. The situation was made worse by the way in which o2 behaved, with rumours of outsourcing rife and mixed messages from the company. One thing we've never lost sight of is trying to get the best possible outcome for our members.

"It was the right decision to hold a strike ballot. We were forced into it because of the unusually short 41 day consultation period - completely inadequate given that this is one of the biggest outsourcing deals in UK history. The ballot definitely focused the minds of Capita and o2 and negotiations intensified following our decision to ballot and meant we were able to achieve an agreement yesterday.

No2 O2 outsourcing
"We've secured far better protections on jobs, pay, pensions and terms and conditions for our members transferring to Capita than were originally on offer. People will not see their salaries suffer, they'll still be eligible for promotion and pay increases as they would have at o2, their pensions are protected and they will keep a local job.

"This gives us greater confidence for our members. We expect Capita to honour this agreement and the protection of these staff. We will be there every step of the way pushing for the best possible working conditions for our members."

Meetings with staff will take place on-site in Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook over the next week to explain the agreement, consult members and get feedback.

Detail on the agreement:

Job security:

  • Capita is committed to maximising job security.
  • Capita denies there are any "foreseeable" plans to downsize or close any sites.
  • Capita won't deliberately manufacture a situation where a site is rundown for offshoring.

Site security:

  • Capita denies there are any plans to close sites.
  • However, they won't guarantee the sites for the duration of the 10 year contract.
  • In the event that any sites do close, Capita is committed to redeploying all staff locally, with no more than 45 minutes additional travel time for any workers.

Pay and T&Cs:

  • Terms and conditions are protected in their entirety, indefinitely, and it is Capita's intention to maintain them.
  • Pay protected - salaries and T&Cs will be maintained throughout working life at Capita, regardless of whether people are working on o2 contract or redeployed to other work.
  • Promotion and pay structure maintained (excludes managers).
  • Pension contributions and benefits remain constant.

Union recognition:

  • Formal trade union recognition for collective bargaining on the four sites maintained by CWU.
  • CWU will be involved in assessing any changes to roles, for example what constitutes suitable alternative employment

As news of the deal broke last night (Monday), CWU assistant secretary, Sally Bridge, who has been leading the talks, explained: "The union's aim has always been to avoid a dispute and reach an agreement. However, given the extremely short notice and the lack of assurances we were left with no alternative but to ballot members for industrial action.

Sally Bridge
"Since the ballot opened, Telefonica and Capita have intensified discussions with us in an attempt to reach an agreement and to avoid industrial action. Today we have concluded negotiations on a package which includes job security; pay protection; protection on terms and conditions of employment; redeployment and union recognition. We believe we have made considerable progress in seeking assurances and employment protections. Given the position, that an agreement has been reached with the company, it is not normal practice for an industrial action ballot to continue in these circumstances."

CWU has informed the Electoral Reform Society (which was running the ballot) to withdraw the ballot with immediate effect. Consultative meetings on site will be arranged to explain the detail of the agreement.

You can read the O2 briefings on the Telefonica o2 page.

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