Capita’s ‘final’ pay offer to VMO2 and Tesco Mobile contract members out to ballot

Telecoms & Financial Services, Capita, VMO2

Members across Capita’s VMO2 and Tesco Mobile contract centre operations who are covered by the CWU collective bargaining agreement have two weeks to deliver their verdict on a belated pay proposal that delivers some but not all of the union’s negotiating objectives.

Thrashed out against the difficult backdrop of large-scale redundancies that are looming across the VMO2 contract, management’s ‘final’ offer – which comes a full six months after the pay review’s due date, reflecting the challenges and complexity of the negotiations – comprises a £1,400 flat rate pay rise (pro-rata for those working more or less than 37.5  hours).  

The proposed deal, which is now the subject of a consultative e-ballot that commenced on Tuesday, is fully consolidated for all those earning less than £30,000 pa – fulfilling, for around 70% of the workforce, one of the CWU’s key negotiating aims that any settlement should flow through to redundancy entitlements. 

Despite intensive pressing by the union, however, Capita has steadfastly refused to consolidate the rise for those earning  more than £30,000,  proposing instead that, if accepted, it will be paid in two lump sum instalments – the first in November’s wages and the second in the January 2024 pay cycle. 

The company HAS, however, conceded that if any of that group leaves the company within the instalment window, that Capita will pay a pro-rata portion of the relevant lump sum.

With nearly 650 employees on the VMO2 contract currently ‘at risk’ of redundancy, the first of those job losses imminent and the company adamant it will not budge on the fundamental  issue of consolidation for the higher-paid, the CWU has unusually decided to place managements ‘final’ offer before members without a recommendation. 

National officer Tracey Fussey explains: “Pay discussions this year have been incredibly frustrating – arguably even more so than the roller-coaster pay round we witnessed last year – with the successive job loss announcements emerging as talks were underway.  

“The CWU’s national negotiating team has been extremely conscious that many members on the VMO2 contract will be exiting the company via redundancy over the next few months, or redeploying to other contracts in Capita where the CWU is not recognised for collective bargaining purposes.

“As such, our primary focus has been on achieving a decent a pay rise for ALL members, whether they are leaving or staying, with a view to any uplift applying equally in all redundancy packages.

“In that key respect, the deal on the table falls short of what we had hoped to achieve for 219 of Capita’s longest-serving and most experienced CWU represented grade employees 

“Fundamentally that means the offer means different things to different people – not just depending on how much they earn but also whether they are staying or going.

Tracey concludes: “While we accept that management’s concession on the pro-rata payment of lump sums for higher-paid individuals who leave Capita between the so-called ‘instalment windows’ is welcome, we remain deeply disappointed that the company hasn’t been prepared to budge on the issue of proper consolidation.

“I’m sure, however, that members will appreciate this is a complex and extremely challenging situation – and above everything I’d like to thank them for their patience and steadfast support for the national team’s negotiating position throughout the discussions.”

Members across the Capita VMO2 and Tesco Mobile contracts are urged to cast their vote before the ballot closes at noon on Monday October 30.