Beware the bearer of poisoned ‘gifts’, CWU warns members, amid new Openreach duplicity

Wednesday 27th January 2021

Just days after furious CWU protests at Openreach’s plans to ‘trial’ an unagreed new role that undercuts current Ts&Cs and places a time-bomb under the  job security of the existing workforce, the company has fired  another salvo in its increasingly ill-disguised ‘race to the bottom’.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the company announced that another unagreed trial – one that was denounced by the CWU late last year  after  it emerged that management had reneged on a central element that could have defused the long-standing disagreement over Personal Travel  Time (PTT) – will be unilaterally rolled out across Service Delivery, starting next month.

Stripped of the PTT-banishing element, the  union now regards  the ‘My Team Incentive Pilot’  as nothing more than a blunt ‘incentivisation’ tool that introduces a dangerous form of performance related pay by the back door and risks turning back the clock to the darkest days of performance management.

Just as last week’s bad news about the ‘simple FTTP provision’ trial was publicly trumpeted by Openreach as a socially responsible  job creation initiative, management’s latest Trojan horse has again  been disingenuously dressed up as a  bung that will allegedly ‘deliver individual incentive earnings averaging £98 per month’.

CWU national officer for Openreach, Davie Bowman, lashed out at the company’s duplicitous motives in a hard-hitting briefing  issued to branches with members in Openreach yesterday afternoon.

“Once again in Service Delivery, driven by the Managing Director Olly Kunc, we are faced with a situation where the company is seeking no feedback or input from your elected representatives at any level within the organisation,” he explains.

Davie Bowman

“This was the opportunity for the company to act in a responsible manner and honour the discussions that have taken place by removing PTT and extending the enhanced flex opportunities for our members.

“All of our members have worked tirelessly through this pandemic putting their health at risk as key workers. So why, when there is a chance for thousands of our members to get home to their families at the earliest opportunity, does the company maintain this unfair division?  The simple reason is because ‘they can’ so they do.  No empathy, no compassion and no understanding.”

Turning to the specific reasons why the extension of the unagreed ‘pilot’ is so dangerous, Davie continues: “While incentivisation may look attractive to some members at the moment, without CWU involvement what cost to our members in the future as the company seek to drive down costs at every opportunity?  Without CWU involvement the company will simply ratchet up the targets year on year making earning anything more difficult and place our members on a never ending treadmill.

“We understand why members may not want to turn down the chance to potentially earn extra money, but this is short sighted and our concern is to protect their wider interests.”


Poisoned apple…

Highlighting the obvious threat to the current contractual 10% bonus, Davie continues: “The introduction of the new FTTP role, with the bonus based on completion – namely completely performance based – should tell every representative and member the direction the company is taking and the potential return to draconian performance management that will bring.

“Members must think very carefully about whether to participate in this unagreed trial, he adds, explaining: “If the company believe through participation levels that this approach is popular then they will consider changes to the current 10% bonus structure, they will continually up the targets and they will drive the culture back to the disgraceful performance management regime of the past.”

Davie  concludes: “The company appear to be bringing the fight to the CWU and its members and taking no account of the depth of feeling about this and many other issues demonstrated by their employees in the recent Count Me In consultative exercise.

“That shows a level of arrogance and contempt unseen previously and it is being displayed for all to see.”