EE staff joining CWU in droves

Telecoms & Financial Services, EE

Well over 500 EE contact centre employees have joined the CWU in just a week following the launch of an innovative recruitment initiative which already looks certain to prove a game-changer in the union’s quest for full collective bargaining rights at the BT-owned mobile giant.

Following last Wednesdays launch of a ‘try union membership for free’ initiative in EE’s contact centre environment, staff at EE’s six major call centre operations have been joining the CWU  in droves – placing the union firmly on a trajectory towards membership levels that would make it nigh on impossible for the company to refuse a  formal union recognition bid.

Coinciding with a series of pre-planned CWU Access Days, the one-off membership offering is not just netting scores of new recruits at every single site visit – but, even more encouragingly, these are being followed up by even greater numbers joining  the CWU via on site CWU Reps,online at or by requesting forms via .

At both Greenock and Darlington entire teams, including their team leaders, have joined en-masse – demonstrating a groundswell of excitement amongst workers as to what a recognised trade union could achieve for them.

And at Greenock the influx of new members has been so dramatic since last Thursday’s Access Day at the site that even the initiative’s national organisers were initially doubtful of local reports of a recruitment stampede – until they actually saw and counted a mountain of completed application forms that represent the near doubling of the union’s membership density at the site in just a few days.

“To say things are going well would be an understatement,” said CWU assistant secretary John East as the recruitment initiative moved to EE’s North Tyneside Building Two this morning.

“If our membership in EE continues to grow at anything like the pace we’ve achieved in the last week – and there’s no reason to think it won’t given that our extensive reps network is reporting a buzz in all sites that is growing, not waning – we think we’re on track to get to the same membership density in EE as we have in the rest of BT within a surprisingly short timescale.

“Momentum is building. Not only do we now have a much bigger pool of members we can communicate with than we did just a week ago – but, even more encouragingly, we’re being inundated with requests from individuals to become actively involved in the recognition campaign. A significant number of individuals are also putting themselves forward to become fully-fledged CWU reps.”

In Plymouth no less than seven new volunteers will help ease the workload of the union’s three existing reps –  and a training course for new reps and a ‘refresher’ for existing ones is already in the process of being finalised prior to its roll-out on a regional basis.

John continues: “All the indications are that this ‘try the union for free’ initiative has really captured people’s imaginations – and I’m convinced we can use the concept to fast-track the expansion of UK membership elsewhere – but the first challenge is to bring the EE initiative to its natural conclusion.

“Above everything this is a bold step that allows people who may never have been a trade union member before to see for themselves what trade unions are all about – something that is not always evident in the non-recognised sector where union reps just don’t have the day-to-day visibility that they have in a company like BT.

“It’s  no accident that in a company  like BT, where CWU membership levels stand at around 90 per cent in the call centre environment, staff enjoy some of the highest rates of pay and best Ts&Cs in the sector – and that message is now clearly getting through in EE.”

Thanking the myriad of Telecoms and Financial Services branches that are bank-rolling the innovative experiment in turbo-charged recruitment, John concludes: “This initiative was never going to be without its risks – not least the lost revenue to the national union and our four branches with big memberships in EE stemming from the fact that we decided from the outset that it would be wrong not to extend the ‘free membership until recognition’ offer to our loyal existing membership in EE contact centres.

“The 22 branches that lined up at the rostrum at CWU Annual Conference to pledge their financial and practical support – and a number of others that have made similar pledges but did not speak in the debate – have shown their foresight in recognising the fact we need to be bold to crack the nut of securing full recognition rights in EE in the near future.

“Ultimately that prize – which is now very much within our grasp – will be very much down to the branches which have made this possible.”

  • The current round of CWU Access Days at EE sites will conclude at Merthyr Tydfil next Thursday (May 17)