BT gradings row sparks staff grievances

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Dozens of formal grievances are currently being considered by staff at the company’s BT site in a long-running row over pay grading.

Members at the company’s Business Complaints unit in Glasgow are furious that the company has re-evaluated previously agreed grades to a lower level, in an assessment process which has been strongly criticised by the union for its apparent lack of independence and impartiality.

The members involved deal specifically with what are categorised as ‘high-level complaints’, which are referred to them to resolve by senior managers in the company

Our members in this division are required to deal with are typically business owners or executives of large corporate companies – with high-value service contracts with BT.

But BT is looking to downgrade these jobs, lowering the existing C3 work to C2 and current C1 graded work down to B2 both of which will mean a lower salary maximum of approximately £2,500.

There is pay and pension protection for those existing employees who are already, substantively, on the higher grades – but individuals who have been covering these roles temporarily, pending the grading outcome, for several years will not get the grade and salary they either anticipated or were promised.

And therefore for a significant number of staff, this constitutes an immediate cut in pay and a substantial long-term cut in pay.

In response to the union’s objections, the company tried to defuse the row by promising to bring in two independent adjudicators to review the classifications at each site.

But CWU assistant secretary Allan Eldred explained that, “what sounded like a good idea in theory turned out to be frankly a bit of a farce in practice.

“They were both BT managers, with links to the people who had made the initial decisions – and not surprisingly, both of them upheld the BT management position.”

Bobby Kelly, CWU secretary for Scotland No1 Branch which these members belong to, said that he was expecting “dozens of individual grievances” to be submitted by workers at the site.

“Management should be in no doubt about the strength of feeling here on this issue, and if they don’t respond positively to these grievances, this situation can only get worse,” Bobby warned.