Consultation continues on disputed BT Facilities outsourcing

Telecoms & Financial Services

Discussions are intensifying with BT, CBRE and ISS on the precise terms of transfer for the 1,700 BT Facilities Services team member employees who are in scope for outsourcing.

Following on from last Monday’s high profile display of the CWU’s disagreement with the entire pretext of the outsourcing outside BT Centre, a formal consultation meeting last Wednesday focussed in the details of the standard contractual and non-contractual Ts&Cs and benefits that will transfer when the TUPE concludes in April.

These talks are separate from the wider-ranging discussions on the crucial issue of job security and the raft of assurances the CWU is demanding under the union’s ongoing #ENDGAME campaign.

Assistant secretary Sally Bridge explains: “In addition to the big picture issues that we are making the strongest possible representations on, it is also important for the union to focus closely on the details of the TUPE transfer.

“Although many of the Ts&Cs are not controversial in themselves, what should in theory be a relatively straightforward exercise is complicated by the fact that there are a myriad of different Ts&Cs and contractual terms that apply as a result of the numerous transfers that have taken place over the years.

“Therefore it’s vitally important we ensure that issues including pay and allowances, annual leave, working hours, sickness benefit and pension contributions transfer over correctly, depending on the particular contract that BTFS employees are working on.”

Sally stressed that, while progress has been made, a number of issues are still under intense discussion – and she has also highlighted two particular areas where misinformation disseminated by BTFS managers to CWU members has caused confusion.

In one instance the union has directly challenged a statement questioning the contractual status of the redundancy terms of former Telereal employees.

The CWU has also moved swiftly to clarify that, as yet, no agreement has been reached any compensation level for the loss of the BT Broadband/ BT Vision benefits that will no longer apply to former BTFS staff once the TUPE transfer is complete.

“It’s the firm view of the CWU that any compensation should be ongoing  for those currently in receipt of this benefit, and should take into consideration the actual amount that an individual would need to spend to buy this package as a customer,” Sally stressed.

Meanwhile, the CWU is gearing up for what look set to be tough discussions on the ‘measures’ – namely changes to the current operational model that ISS and CBRE wish to make for ‘economic, technical or organisational reasons’ – that were signalled in a statement that appeared on BTFS Change Space just before Christmas.

Given very real threat of job losses and changes to contractual hours, the CWU’s #ENDGAME  campaign objectives include negotiating agreements covering job security and the protection of hours post-transfer.

“Needless to say we will be looking for assurances as to how any change to the operating model which may lead to job losses will be dealt with, and are arguing the case that an enhanced VR package will be needed to help manage those job losses,” Sally concludes.

“Members can rest assured they will be kept fully informed as developments occur.”