CWU welcomes BT Openreach job creation

CWU has welcomed confirmation from BT today (Thursday) that it will be recruiting 1,000 new engineers to a range of roles on fibre broadband. The union is particularly pleased that hundreds of jobs have been ringfenced for long-term unemployed and young people as these are two arguments which CWU has been pushing in talks over resourcing.

Andy Kerr
Commenting on the announcement, CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: "We welcome today's confirmation that 1,000 new Openreach engineers will be recruited. It's a good indicator of the company's success and is a great opportunity for many people seeking to get into the telecommunications industry. We hope they will all join CWU - the biggest union in the telecoms industry.

BT expects most of the engineers to be working on its fibre rollout as part of the company's £2.5 billion investment in fibre broadband. The new recruits will take the Openreach workforce dedicated to this programme to over 6,000.

BT Openreach
"As a union, we have pushed BT hard on the question of resourcing and creating permanent, direct -labour jobs over the use of temporary third party resource" Andy explains. "We believe this new wave of recruitment is a major step forward in our resourcing discussions with the company and shows our arguments are bearing fruit."

On the allocation of jobs for long-term unemployed and young people, Andy is unequivocal. "We particularly welcome the focus on recruiting long-term unemployed and young people as these are two suggestions we've asked the company to act on." And with next week being Apprenticeships Week, Andy says the allocation of 400 of the new jobs as apprentices is "especially timely". It's good news for young people looking to get into telecoms engineering, as Andy explains: "BT has a strong track record on offering popular apprenticeships and the addition of another 400 apprentices to the Openreach engineering team is a very positive step."

The new 1,000 jobs are being allocated in the following way:

  • 400 apprentices on a 30 months scheme. At the end of the scheme they will have been trained and fully skilled with the intention that they would progress to the main workforce over 2 years subject to meeting the required standards.
  • 200 full-time equivalent jobs for ex-armed forces civilian work attachment (CWA) converting from May 2013.
  • 400 full-time equivalent jobs from other sources including current third party resource, long term unemployed, friends and family, and further ex-armed forces via new phases of CWA.

During the coming months CWU's negotiating team will be meeting Openreach on a monthly basis to discuss ongoing resourcing requirements.

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