Message from Wales members – great PTT victory, now let’s win on pay, gradings and bonus consolidation

Telecoms & Financial Services, Openreach

Welsh branches report positive feedback from Openreach members in SD, FND, civils and other functions as they kick off the union’s latest nationwide campaign..

Cardiff, Eugene Caparros, South Wales Branch Secretary

Everyone we spoke to said it was a tremendous achievement to get PTT ended – and pretty much everyone also said we need to follow it up with getting a decent pay rise.

Yesterday, I was at the main yard for Cardiff area engineers to pick up their stores and supplies – Forest Farm – we were talking with members all morning as they came and went.

It was also a great opportunity to sign up some of our new starters into the union – now we’re hopefully coming out of the Covid restrictions at last and we can get back to our face-to-face campaigning again.

And although everyone’s pleased that we’ve now ended the unfair travel time situation, there’s growing anger over how our members’ pay has fallen behind the cost of living in real terms over the past two years.

This is even more the case right now, with inflation rising higher – everyone’s talking about higher bills for gas and electric, food prices etc – and they’re telling us that there’s got to be substantial progress on wages to compensate.

Members also raised issues around the unagreed gradings and the need for consolidation of the 10 per cent bonus – but the big, big topic was the basic pay.

BT were gloating about their financial results – yes, great news, and it proves they can afford a decent pay settlement.

Our members earned that profit for the company with their hard work – and our members deserve their fair share.

Anger is growing and we won’t wait forever!

Finally, thanks to everyone for their support, and also much appreciation for reposting, liking and sharing our social media. Our union does great stuff on the socials and I hope we can keep the momentum going.

Bangor, Will LeCras, North Wales Branch chair

Our members in Bangor were very specific on their pay demands. When they stood for a group photo and a short video snap for social media, they all chanted: “What do we want? 10 per cent!”

And there’s nothing wrong with that at all – I joined in with it myself. It’s a fair demand when you look at how we only got an unconsolidated award last year and a tiny 1.5 per cent rise the year before. It’s been calculated that we need around a 10 per cent rise to recover that shortfall in comparison to the inflation rate.

Thursday was really good. Following on from the day before in Rhyl, we went to Llandygai in the Bangor area, the other main yard in North Wales and once again I brought along a freshly-baked batch of PTT Victory Cupcakes – special thanks once again to my wife Iona, they went down very well!

The mood was very upbeat among members, whether they were affected by PTT or not, they’re all saying it’s a welcome bit of good news. One of the members I spoke with made the point that it’s the equalisation between our NewGrid and WF20:20 people that’s the most important aspect of what the union’s won here.

So, lot’s more to do now as well as the main push on pay, but this past couple of days has been a great start. Also, it’s been fantastic to see all the postings up on the union’s social media – and nice to post out some of our messages in Welsh too!

And to all our members, a big thank you! – Diolch yn fawr!

Swansea, Mike Jones, South Wales Branch Section West Secretary

We were at Gorse Road, chatting to our members in their vans and handing out flyers and also the special ‘goodie bags’ and the general feedback was very appreciative that the union has won a fight here.

There’s a general view that the end of PTT was down to the ongoing pressure form the union. This PTT didn’t affect everybody, but even the ones it didn’t affect have said how is shows that our union being strong and determined has been really good.

Quite a bit of chat around pay rises, especially with so much happening about inflation, and my reply was that talks are still going on.

We definitely need a substantial pay rise. Apart from the last two years, before that we’d always matched inflation at least. So that’s what we’ve got to get back to

So it was nice to do this and I was proud to be campaigning again with the union. If we can keep this going and get a decent pay rise, maybe we can have another victory celebration!

Recruitment was another thing going on – for example I met some new starters and so I gave them the details of joining the CWU. They were impressed with what we’re doing and that we’re negotiating on a pay rise, so hopefully we’ll get them into the union.

Newport, Ieuan Davies, South Wales Branch Young Members officer

The site I was at, I mostly met members of our civils teams – these are the guys who carry out what you could call infrastructure work. So they do the heavy digging, tarmacking, putting the ducts in for the UG cabling etc.

As well as promoting the CWU’s achievement on PTT, we also wanted to ask them about their issues too – and they were making a lot of points about their own contracts and their own travel-to-work contractual arrangements.

PTT didn’t affect our civils members as such, because they can’t park their work vehicles at home. So there are several longstanding issues there that need to be worked on and finding a fairer solution.

Brilliant PTT win, and a lot of positives, but still various ongoing grievances that we’ve got to do our best to deal with for our members.