Breakthrough on ISS security officers’ annual leave


Agreement has been reached with ISS on the vexed issue of how security guards on the BT contract have their annual leave entitlement calculated.

Representations were first made by the CWU well in advance of the TUPE transfer that saw BTFS security guards transfer to ISS on April 1 as part of the disputed outsourcing of more than 1,700 CWU represented grade employees who were formerly directly employed by BT.

Assistant secretary Sally Bridge explains: “From early on in the TUPE discussions we identified that the transfer would throw up particular complications with regards to the calculation of security officers’ annual leave entitlement. That’s because it’s commonplace for those on security to regularly and consistently work hours that bear scant relation to their actual contracted hours.

“Once the issue raised its ugly head, the CWU robustly made the point that it would be utterly unacceptable for this discrepancy to result in leave entitlements being reduced post-transfer – and to be fair, the union received categorical assurances from the outset that it was not  ISS’s intention to change either the hours worked or leave entitlements for anyone in this situation.

“In the event, however, the calculation criteria implemented by ISS didn’t entirely match the complex and opaque formula previously used by BTFS – resulting in some security officers seeing a reduction in their annual leave entitlement even though their hours had remained exactly the same.

“Needless to say, this has been a major bone of contention – and I’m therefore very pleased that, following detailed discussions with the company, ISS has now agreed to change how annual leave will be calculated.”

The new system is based on current Government guidelines on the calculation of holiday entitlement for hourly-paid shift workers – backed up with guarantees that wherever the comparatively simple formula used to calculate ‘base holiday entitlement’ produces an entitlement that is less than contractual holiday entitlement, or a minimum of 22 days plus bank holidays, the greater will apply.

Full details can be viewed in CWU Briefing No. 032/2019 for BT branches with ISS members. In summary, however, the CWU is convinced that, for the first time, ex-BTFS security guards will benefit from an annual leave calculation system that is clear, transparent and far easier to understand than the system that formerly operated in BTFS.

In advance of the new system being rolled out in January – coinciding with start of the new holiday year on account of the looming switch from April-to-April to calendar year annual leave cycles – the ISS BT management team will be briefing supervisory teams across the country. Following those briefings, which will take place throughout October, each and every security guard will be contacted by their direct supervisor with a view to checking that individuals’ correct holiday entitlements have been recorded, and that any questions they have are answered.

Sally continues: “Although it’s taken longer than we’d have hoped to have reached this outcome, this agreement is good news for members after what has been a difficult period. We truly believe we’ve now set in place a far better annual leave calculation process – and now we just need to get the transition right.”

ISS BT account director Mikkel Knudsen concludes: “We’re pleased that ISS and the CWU have reached an agreement in this matter, and we’re particularly pleased with the way these negotiations have been conducted.

“We recognise that our teams are the most valuable resource we have, and to be able to remove this worry from their daily life is important to me personally, and the business. We look forward to working with each officer and resolving this matter.”