Manpower pay up in Voice Services – but more still required, says CWU

Telecoms & Financial Services, Manpower UK Ltd (BT contract)

Manpower members working for BT Venture Voice Services have received their second pay rise in less than a year – just as the CWU is ratcheting up pressure on both companies over low agency pay levels.

In a statement issued to advisors responsible for dealing with 999 and 100 calls, BT and Manpower revealed they had been jointly reviewing pay rates in the light of “a larger than forecast increase in the workload for BT Voice Services” that had resulted on “greater demand on our people and increased revenue for the business”.

The statement continued that “in recognition of your contribution an increase of 6.25 per cent has been agreed for all PBA (contract) team members, taking the per-hour rate to £8.50” with immediate effect.

As recently as last year the rate was just £7.50 per hour, rising to £8 in the spring.

Responding to the unexpected but long overdue recognition of the value of the work conducted by Voice Services’ agency advisors  – some of whom had previously languished for years on £7.50 per hour – assistant secretary Sally Bridge said: “For a long time we’ve been making regular representations on behalf of our Manpower members working on the 999 service and in operator services, pointing out that they were woefully underpaid. While it’s true they received an increase to £8 per hour just as our Close the Gap campaign was getting underway it’s extremely welcome news that BT and Manpower have moved again and agreed to pay an extra 50p per hour with immediate effect.

“The pressure we’ve been exerting on both companies, now amplified to a wider audience via the Close The Gap campaign, appears to be resonating. It still has to be said, however, that while the immediate rise to £8.50 is clearly good news, it still falls short of the £8.75 per hour rate set by the Living Wage Foundation that is widely recognised as the minimum required for a decent quality of life outside London.

“And despite their latest pay increase, our agency members in Voice Services are still paid considerably less than the minimum of £9.38 per hour paid to directly employed BT staff doing exactly the same work.

“As such, our on-going Close The Gap campaign  – which calls for the Real Living Wage to be paid to all agency workers in BT as an absolute minimum, but also for the abolition of discriminatory PBA contracts – is as relevant now as it always has been.”

  • Meanwhile the CWU’s political campaigning to expose the second-class treatment of agency employees on so-called Pay Between Assignment (PBA) contracts – including around 2,000 Manpower staff on the BT account is fast gathering momentum.

Just weeks after the Close The Gap campaign entered a new political phase, with a high profile pre-Christmas demonstration in Parliament Square, Scottish MP and CWU stalwart Hugh Gaffney tabled an EDM this Monday

As of  midday today (Friday) that EDM had already been signed by 24 MPs – 18 Labour; one Tory (Peter Bottomley, Worthing West); two Democratic Unionists (Jim Shannon, Stangford and Gavin Robinson, Belfast East); one Scottish Nationalist (Christopher Stepens, Glasgow South West) and one independent (Lady Hermon, North Down).

Members across the country are encouraged to contact their MPs to urge them to follow suit.

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