Compulsory redundancy threat in BT Enterprise provokes CWU response in Consumer


The CWU is urging BT Consumer to delay the rollout of site meetings to explain a possible move to ‘Team Based Scheduling’ on the back of the bombshell that BT Enterprise is refusing to rule out threat of compulsory redundancies. (See story here)

Faced with the Enterprise division’s shock announcement that it is placing  around 370 CWU-represented grade employees ‘at risk’ of being forced out – something that has never happened before in any part of the company where the CWU is recognised for collective bargaining purposes – the union has made the difficult decision to seek a postponement of ‘roadshow’ events intended showcase the progress made in talks to secure long-sought improvements to the attendance patterns available to staff in Consumer contact centres.

Assistant secretary Nigel Cotgrove explains: “The CWU has always made job security our number one priority for members, and we have longstanding agreements in place with BT that have successfully redeployed and re-skilled many thousands of members over the last few decades.

“However, BT is now threatening compulsory redundancies for the first time ever. As a union we cannot stand by and let BT treat any of our members in this way. It might be Enterprise today, but it could be Consumer tomorrow. These developments are all the more concerning as we all know that BT has a stated plan to move from hundreds of locations to 30 over the next few years.

“BT’s insistence on using the formal redundancy process and placing members at risk, rather than the normal and successful redeployment process, raises the issue of trust and integrity of BT as a whole. This is has been a key focus in our negotiations on Team Based Scheduling given the repeated problems with BT failing to abide by existing agreements in Consumer.

“As a result, the CWU Executive has asked BT to postpone the briefings on Team Based Scheduling until the threat of compulsory redundancy is removed, as we must focus all our efforts and resources on resolving the issues in Enterprise.”

Nigel concludes “It’s regrettable that Consumer has decided to go ahead with the briefings, despite our request. Given the situation we’re in, the CWU will not be holding on site briefings on this issue. I realise that the principled stance the union has taken may cause concern. This is not something that we wanted, and not a decision the Executive has taken lightly. Ultimately, however, the onus is on BT to take steps to resolve a needless industrial relations crisis of its own making and to remove the threat of compulsory redundancies.”.