Agency conversions in BT Supply Chains welcomed

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Longstanding CWU demands for more agency conversions in BT Supply Chains have been heeded by management in a business with a good consultation record, with plans just announced to give permanent BT contracts to around 100 agency staff across the division.

The latest round of conversions, which follow on from an earlier batch at Northallerton and Magna Park which has just been concluded, involve 25 further BT contracts being issued to agency staff at Magna Park, around 45 in transport operations, 15 in Forward Stock Locations (FSLs) and the remainder in Control Tower/contact centres.

Representing a further step forward in the union’s efforts to ensure that any roles that are clearly ‘permanent’ are covered by in-house resource, the 15 agency conversions in FSLs represent a particular breakthrough for the CWU after months of intensive lobbying.

Assistant secretary Brendan O’Brien explains: “We’ve always regarded FSLs as the frontline, the visible face of Supply Chains, so the CWU has argued long and strong that those providing the interface for anyone collecting stores should be full-time employees and not agency. We meet regularly and have good relationships across this line of business. That means difficult issues are worked out together and understood on both sides. We knew the challenges the business faced to meet our demands.”

“National Team (NT) members Chris Power and John Blevins have worked

especially hard in this area, and the success in achieving 15 FSL agency conversions  – which we hope will be the start of more to follow – is very much down to the pressure that the NT, and Chris in particular, has brought to bear.

FSLs, which are predominantly located in the Telephone Engineering Centres (TECs), are currently part of a major refurbishment programme, which has also been championed by the CWU, with more than half of the 64 upgrades already complete and the rest by September.

Brendan concludes: “Wholesale & Ventures is an important growth area in BT, so it’s also encouraging to see an upsurge in the recruitment of new apprentices being taken on by the company – another thing we’ve been pressing for some time.

“Ventures Voice Services has already confirmed that it will be taking on five customer services apprentices in Liverpool starting in December. A recruitment process is also about to commence for 10 new apprentices in Supply Chain Engineering Services in the ‘staging and configuration’ area with an October 1 start date.

“Taken in conjunction with the agency conversions in Supply Chains, the advertising of new apprenticeships represents another highly encouraging indicator of  the Wholesale & Ventures division going for growth.”