ISS resourcing changes under the CWU microscope

Telecoms & Financial Services

Close tabs are being kept on ISS’s plans to reduce the number of cleaning hours at around 20 BT workplaces.

The move – which the company insists will have no impact whatsoever on  Covid-specific cleaning arrangements – has triggered the launch of a consultation under which 31 impacted housekeepers are being asked to  express their preference  between hours reductions with compensatory payments, redeployment  or, in a handful of cases, the option of voluntary redundancy.

Those in-scope  are currently in the process of being contacted by their local CWU reps to ensure they have the support and advice they need – though ISS has already confirmed it is seeking to secure the 316.5 reduction in housekeeping hours through entirely voluntary means, with early indications suggesting that approach is working well at present.

Most of the proposed housekeeping resource reductions are in buildings where occupancy levels are currently falling as result of either reorganisations by different BT lines of business, or the company’s overarching Better Workplace Programme. In some instances, however, the move is simply realigning actual resourcing levels to the number of cleaning hours stipulated in the contract with BT at the time of the disputed outsourcing of BT Facilities Services (BTFS) in 2019.

Tracey Fussey

Recently elected CWU national officer for ISS, Tracey Fussey, explains: “The National Team has already raised its concern with regards to any reduction of housekeeping hours taking place at the very same time that BT is looking to start to return employees back into the workplace. ISS has confirmed, however, that the reductions in question will not affect the enhanced cleaning regimes that have been in place during the pandemic, and they will all continue.

“We’re yet to be convinced that there will be absolutely no impact, however, so branches have been asked to escalate any concerns that they have with the proposals, enabling  appropriate representations to  be made to BT Property & Facilities if standards and services levels affecting our members in BT fall or are not met.

“In the meantime, however, our priority is ensuring the best possible outcome for our impacted housekeeping members, and we are engaged in discussions with ISS with a view to achieving that end. The efforts being made by the company to achieve these resourcing changes entirely voluntarily are undoubtedly well-intentioned and very encouraging– but we’re still watching closely as to how this pans out in practice.

“What these resourcing changes do demonstrate, however, is that the changing shape of the BT Estate will clearly have an impact on suppliers like ISS, and that changes in BT’s occupancy of particular buildings have an impact well beyond our members in BT, with particular reverberations in housekeeping and security.”