#ENDGAME tour against BTFS outsourcing goes into overdrive

Telecoms & Financial Services

Another heavy duty week of campaigning against BT ‘s plans to outsource its Facilities Services division has just drawn to a close – leaving the company in no doubt about the CWU’s determination expose the folly of a move that has sent shivers through the wider workforce.

Today (Friday) it was the turn of Belfast to feel the heat of the union’s #ENDGAME campaign, with CWU protesters making their presence felt outside the company’s high-profile Riverside Tower site. Around 15 local BTFS members joined the demonstration – which ended with an impromptu procession, complete with the #ENDGAME banner, from Riverside Tower to BT’s Telephone House about 10 minutes walk away.

In a week that has seen protests take place every single day, the other locations targeted by the CWU were:

Videos from all the locations can be viewed above – as well as a Facebook Live session that the CWU held on Tuesday evening, which has now received over 5,000 views.

“If ever BT doubted the CWU’s resolve to fight the outsourcing of its Facilities Services division to CBRE and ISS it’s receiving a very rude awakening now…and deservedly so,” said assistant secretary Sally Bridge.

Fear and foreboding…

The extent to which the announcement has struck fear and foreboding into not just those directly affected, but also the wider BT workforce, has continued to come through loud  and clear at all these protests.

At both Belfast and Leicester particularly large groups of BTFS employees came out to join the CWU’s protest, poignantly articulating their shock and despair at being placed in scope for TUPE transfer to ISS.

“I’m absolutely shocked at what BT has done to us, because I simply didn’t think that BT did things like this,” said Leicester senior housekeeper Mary Cotterell.

“BT has always been brilliant blue chip company, and it’s been a great company to work for – with the Living Wage, pensions, broadband and so on – and all that’s going to go.

“We all thought we had a job for life and we’re all worried about what working for ISS would mean. They’re clearly going to cut back, because that’s what contractors do, and I’ve heard that ISS don’t pay the Living Wage.

“That’s my number one worry, but I’m also worried about the hours, because I can see them cutting back – maybe not straight away, but I’m sure they will start looking at what they can do to cut them, because I’ve seen it happening before.”

Having previously worked for Monteray, Mary stressed that “coming into BT was heaven” – and that she and her colleagues now have a deep sense of foreboding over what an ‘outsourced’ future may hold.

“I’m so happy the union is fighting for us, because we need some help,” she said. “No-one is else is telling us anything, nobody knows what’s happening and the morale is really low.

“Management are just printing off paperwork and I get the impression they are just as worried themselves, feeling that their jobs aren’t safe either anymore.

Mary concluded: “I definitely think other people in BT should be worried, because what’s happening to us could be just the beginning. They’ve star


ted at the bottom and they’ll work their way up – unless they can be made to think again.”

Fellow Leicester housekeeper, Claire Yates, agreed, stressing: “If they can do this to us they can do it to anyone.”

Claire continued: “I still can’t believe that BT has done this, especially when we’ve only been back with them for six years. I’m still in shock and am disappointed that there have been no assurances that mean anything.

“If it wasn’t for the CWU we’d be stuck in there with no support at all.”

Next week the CWU’s #ENDGAME campaigning will continue with a vengeance, with protests scheduled to take  place outside:

  • BT’s Stadium House in Cardiff on Monday – with a simultaneous demonstration outside the company’s Northallerton Depot in North Yorkshire
  • BT’s Sovereign Street site in Leeds – with a simultaneous demonstration taking place outside North Star House in Swindon
  • Adastral Park – BT’s pioneering research centre near Ipswich – on Friday

All the protests present the same message to BT that it needs to ‘Stop Playing Games’ with the livelihoods of loyal employees.