Near unanimous ‘YES’ to Airwave pay deal worth 5.3% in ballot number two

Telecoms & Financial Services, Airwave

Members in Airwave have overwhelmingly accepted a fully consolidated single-year pay deal which delivers across-the-board increases of 5.3% plus a commitment by management to work with the CWU to address a range of employee bugbears.

The company’s ‘full and final’ offer – which had previously been rejected by a 66% of those voting in an earlier ballot in April amid simmering discontent over a number of unrelated workplace issues – sailed through with a 97% ‘YES’ vote in a second ballot which closed last Friday.

That follows the company’s agreement to ongoing talks, which have already got underway, to deal with employee concerns ranging from a lack  of training opportunities to a desire for more flexible working arrangements – including opportunities to work from home where appropriate

Also up for discussion are workplace irritants about office equipment that needs upgrading – notably faulty chairs and uneven screen heights – and the ways in which information flows about relevant business changes can be improved for those in the National Management Centre (NMC).

Following members’ near unanimous ratification of the CWU-brokered package, the 5.3% increase will be applied in July salaries, backdated to April 1.

The same uplift applies to shift, on call, standby/cover allowances and overtime – and comes in addition to a 2.9% of salary bonus for all employees in CWU-represented grades that is not negotiated by the union and which had already been announced by management.

Thanking members for their patience and solidarity in a difficult pay round which took place against the unhelpful backdrop of the Governments competition regulator’s decision to cap the emergency services communications provider’s future profits by half, acting national officer Tracy Buckley told CWU News: “There’s no question that the Competition and Markets Authority’s move will significantly reduce revenue and profits for the remainder of the contract. As such, the national negotiating team has no doubt whatsoever that this settlement is the  very best that could be achieved through negotiation.

“While we would, of course, have liked to have achieved a higher percentage rise for our members in Airwave, there are some huge positives that have come out this years’ pay round – notably the fact that it has drawn out a number of non-pay related issues we are now intent on addressing.

“Discussions are already getting underway with management, and I’d hope to be able to report on meaningful progress soon. On the specific issue of working from home, detailed talks are clearly needed to explore what bespoke and/or flexible arrangements can be achieved for individuals in the NMC.

“There will, of course, be limitations due to security issues –  but the CWU is keen to understand what can and cannot be achieved and, in particular, to explore more opportunities to work from home in times of personal need.”

Tracy stresses, however, that one of the most positive things of all to have come out of a series of virtual members’ meetings and a CWU visit to Airwave’s Rugby headquarters over recent weeks has been the re-establishment of a level of engagement with members that has been sadly lacking for some time.

“A number of individuals have already come forward and offered to be local points of contact for the union, and we are intent on working with these individuals to establish better communication flows and to move things forward,” Tracy explains.

“In the very near future we will also be lifting and shifting our entire Airwave membership into a new Branch that can better support and service their needs.

“Above everything this is about re-establishing a relationship and an ongoing dialogue between the CWU and our members in Airwave, and that can only be good news for all our members in the company,” Tracy concludes.

Members in Airwave are urged to share this story with any of their colleagues who are not currently members of the union. Any team member employee can easily and quickly join the CWU by clicking here.