BT consultation on mass TUPE to Openreach Ltd gets underway

Telecoms & Financial Services

Assurances have been sought and received by the CWU that today’s launch of a major consultation exercise regarding the mass TUPE of around 30,000 Openreach employees to Openreach Ltd will not result in any unwelcome surprises for members.

The long-anticipated TUPE, which stems from Ofcom’s demands for a beefed-up ‘legal separation’ of Openreach from the rest of BT Group, will, when complete, represent the biggest TUPE transfer of employees from one legal employer to another in UK corporate history.

While opposed from the outset by the CWU, the union has already received categorical assurances from BT that, barring the name change of Openreach members’ legal employer, little else will change.

Deputy general secretary Andy Kerr explains: “The CWU has already begun initial preparatory discussions with BT, which has assured us that there will be no changes to the terms and conditions of our members as a result of the transfer.

“Therefore we are confident that the process should be a relatively simple and seamless process without any detriment to our members’ terms and conditions.”

Conceding, however, that many Openreach employees will be understandably concerned by the development, Andy stressed: “Please be reassured that, throughout the consultation period, we will be sticking rigidly to our conference policy which is unequivocal about the union’s position on this issue.”

The conference policy reads:

The T&FS Executive are instructed to make it clear to BT that we do not expect any change in the Union’s ability to collectively represent members across the whole of BT Group; in addition we expect TUPE negotiations to culminate in a binding agreement that will safeguard our members’ terms, conditions and that free movement is maintained between BT and Openreach Ltd including redeployment rights as defined in NewGRID.  In addition that, assisted job search for ill health reasons are maintained across BT Group.  Should this not be forthcoming this will be met with resistance, including a campaign and industrial action if appropriate.