Double victory for Supply Chain TUPE ‘survivors’

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Around 30 Supply Chain employees based at BT’s massive Magna Park distribution hub are in line for the retrospective restoration of terms and conditions that were wrongly removed when they opted to remain with BT rather than be TUPE’d into probable redundancy.

In a significant win for the CWU that rights an injustice that dates back to the start of the year, the union successfully argued that members who had serviced Supply Chain’s stock distribution contract with Allvotec (formerly Daisy Chain) should have retained their full Ts&Cs when applying for similar ‘hybrid’ roles at Magna Park rather than risk a highly uncertain transfer to Allvotec’s Swindon site some 94 miles south.

At the time, Supply Chains was adamant that, although those accepting new directly comparable roles within Magna Park would maintain their existing pay levels, they would have to accept WF2020 Ts&Cs covering the length of the working week, leave allocations and sick pay.

But that stance has now been reversed by the union following a breakthrough in current talks on  a separate ‘TUPE into redundancy’ situation stemming from Supply Chain’s decision to outsource customer broadband equipment ‘Test & Refurb’ work from its Northallerton site in North Yorkshire to a company based in Scotland.

With it clear from the outset that none of the 11 team member grade employees impacted are likely to opt to move with their jobs to CDTI’s operation in Glenrothes, Fife  – some 200 miles north – the CWU has fought hard to ensure that comparable alternative roles will be made available for all of the impacted employees who want to stay working in Northallerton.

Good news on that front  was reported to members last week (see story here) – but following  further discussions that have just concluded, the guarantee of jobs has been further enhanced with the confirmation that ALL current Ts&Cs will  be honoured in their entirety.

Recently elected national officer for BT Supply Chains explains: “In a very real sense this breakthrough has killed two birds with one stone:  Not only have we secured the outcome we wanted for our Test& Refurb members in Northallerton all along, but that victory has now helped to right a historic wrong for our members who used to work on the Allvotec contract at Magna Park.

“From the moment management conceded that the union was correct in its interpretation that the ‘hybrid’ nature of the new roles being offered in Northallerton meant  that the Ts&Cs of any of our Test & Refurb members transferring to comparable roles in BT should remain entirely unchanged, the company’s earlier argument that a precedent had been set in the strikingly similar Allvotec TUPE situation simply wasn’t sustainable.

“As such the two wins we’ve secured for different groups of members who’ve survived near identical TUPE situations  – both of which initially posed  the very real possibility of compulsory redundancy on day one because of the geographies involved – are essentially different sides of the same coin. It’s only because of the victory we secured in Northallerton that we’ve been able to successfully re-open the case on the earlier Magna Park Ts&Cs changes.”

Tracey Fussey

Discussions are now underway as to how the impacted Magna Park employees  will  be retrospectively compensated for not just the extra hours they’ve worked but also the loss of wrongly suspended holiday and sick pay entitlements.

Meanwhile, until members impacted by the outsourcing of Test & Refurb work in Northallerton make final decisions as to whether they wish to accept alternative job offers with BT, Supply Chain  is proceeding on the basis of a TUPE transfer taking place.

As such, the CDTI has been invited to Northallerton to answer any questions on the Ts&Cs matrix agreed with the CWU, which include relocation allowances and additional travelling costs that have been negotiated by the CWU for anyone choosing to move with their work to Fife – even though the union believes it is unlikely anyone will take up this option.

Tracey concludes: “The National Team recognise that this has been a particularly difficult time for members, and are extremely pleased that alternative roles which maintain current Ts&Cs have been offered.”