‘Final’ pay offer for Capita Tesco Mobile members out to ballot

Telecoms & Financial Services, Capita

Protracted and challenging pay talks on behalf of members in the Capita Tesco Mobile Partnership – held against the difficult backdrop of a renegotiation of the contract and a recently announced site closure bombshell – have reached their conclusion.

Yesterday (Wednesday) a consultative ballot opened on the company’s final offer, which confirms Capita’s earlier commitment to pay an absolute minimum of the Real Living Wage and delivers consolidated pay rises of at least 1.85% for everyone paid above that level.

Beneficiaries will include those employees who last year received no rise whatsoever on account of the Capita-wide embargo on any pay increases at all for anyone paid over a £28,000 threshold.

The company’s proposed settlement for 2021 is being placed before members without a recommendation of either acceptance or rejection by the union’s Capita TM national team – simply the observation that negotiations have reached the end of the road and that the deal on the table is the best that can be reached though talks alone.

CWU national officer for Capita, Brendan O’Brien explains: “External forces have been at play during the course of negotiations, none of which have been helpful. These have included the renegotiation of the contract between Tesco Mobile and Capita which, while delivering a three year extension that was announced just a fortnight ago, has considerably tightened the purse strings, with the value of the TM contract to Capita effectively falling by around £9 million a year.

“Things were further complicated last month by Capita’s shock announcement that the Bury site will be closing in September. Coming, as it did, in the midst of pay negotiations, that bombshell caused the union to recalibrate its initial 3.5% across the board pay claim to a £1,000 cash lump sum on account of the very real uncertainty over the future job security of those impacted –but again this is something we have not been able to progress with the company.

“As such, despite the considerable efforts of the CWU National Team to secure an offer we could wholeheartedly commend to members, we’ve come to the conclusion that this simply the best that can be achieved by negotiation in exceptionally difficult circumstances.”

Details of the company’s proposed settlement of the 2021 pay round include:

  • Capita’s confirmation early on that it would be applying the full 2021 RLW increase that applies outside of London of 20p per hour – from £9.30 to £9.50 – something they duly did on April 1. This represented a 2.15% increase for the company’s lowest paid staff in the Capita Tesco Mobile Partnership at both the Preston Brook and Bury sites
  • For ‘RUS’ sales advisers, an increase of 20p per hour – from £9.45 to £9.65 – to maintain the hourly rate differential between them and staff on the RLW and avoid ‘pay compression’
  • Pay progression payments continuing to be applied for all those contractually entitled to them – subject to the known requirements being met
  • For those members who have TUPE rights from the Telefonica transfer and  who are paid above the RLW but below the £28,000 threshold above which no rises were paid last year, a straightforward consolidated 1.85% increase in pay and allowances, backdated to April 1.
  • For the small number of members who did not receive a pay increase at all last year, on account of the Capita-wide £28K pay cap, a slightly higher increase of 2.15% – again backdated to April 1, 2021.

Referring to the final group, Brendan concludes: “The National Team wanted to ensure that this comparatively small group of members did not miss out again. Following strong CWU representations that some form of redress was needed for the lack of a pay rise for these members last year, the company has agreed to offer what, for them, retrospectively becomes a two-year pay deal.”

“Taken it its totality, the offer on the table is certainly the best that can be reached via negotiation, and the negotiating team now invite members to vote on it.”

  • The e-ballot that commenced yesterday will close at noon on Wednesday July 30, with the result being announced shortly afterwards. If accepted, the proposed rises for non-RLW staff are expected to be included in July pay packets.