New deal on Bank Holiday working in EE Consumer secures five guaranteed days offEE, Telecoms & Financial Services, BT, Call Centres January 30 2023
An agreement has been reached with EE Consumer that means anyone working the five non-festive Bank Holidays will, from now on, benefit from five absolutely guaranteed days off to take at a time of their choosing.
The CWU-brokered deal was arrived at in constructive discussions with management following the company’s announcement that it wanted to introduce ‘Flexible Bank Holidays’, with the union successfully building in safeguards for those staff who have not traditionally been required to work those days.
CWU national officer for EE Consumer, Stephen Albon, explains: “Apart from the operational reasons why the company has been seeking greater certainty over Bank Holiday resourcing, for some time both the CWU and management have been receiving feedback from individuals saying they’d welcome this area to be looked at, especially with regards to the five non-festive Bank Holidays.
“Some members have advised that these five public holidays are not as valued as the festive period – nor indeed some other dates that are personally important for them, which may include other religious festivals, birthdays and anniversaries.
“We therefore believe that the agreement we have reached – which opens up the opportunity to exchange a worked non-festive Bank Holiday day for an absolutely guaranteed day off at a time of the individuals’ choosing (with just a small number of exceptions) – will be positively received by many members.
“In guaranteeing these five days of annual leave, the only ask is that they are not taken consecutively, do not include the period between December 24 and January 4, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the iPhone device launch (usually in September) – and that they are booked at least 10 weeks before the day being asked for.”
CWU Telecoms & Financial Services Executive member Dave Tee, who was part of the national negotiating team, adds: “This means, for instance, that if someone has booked two weeks in August, they could book flight days at the beginning and end of their holiday which would be absolutely guaranteed and, once booked, could not be removed.
“We believe this provides genuine additional flexibility that will be welcomed by not just by ex- EE employees and those on BT Contact Centre contracts, who have always been contractually required to work Bank Holidays – but also potentially by ex-BT Consumer employees who will now be able to opt in to the arrangement if they so wish.”
Safeguards for ex-BT Consumer members
Initially the company wanted to roll out ‘Flexible Bank Holidays’ to all CWU-represented grades on the basis that, once opted in, there would be no opportunity to opt out.
During the course of detailed negotiations, however, the CWU has successfully negotiated a series of safeguards for individuals who have never been contractually obliged to work Bank Holidays.
CWU national officer for EE Consumer, Stephen Albon, explains: “Essentially we wanted to ensure that ex-BT Consumer members went into this with their eyes open, and that is exactly what the National Team has achieved, because now opting into ‘Flexible Bank Holidays’ is entirely voluntary for these members.
“For those ex-BT Consumer members who do not wish to opt in for whatever reason, absolutely nothing changes. Bank Holidays remain outside of their current shift rotas, though they can still volunteer to work those days if they so wish, giving 16 weeks notice.
“Crucially, for those who do decide to opt in to the new flexible Bank the opportunity has now provided for them to come back out again in 2024/2025 if they decide, for whatever reason, that it is not for them after all.”
Separate bulletins outlining in detail what the flexible bank holiday agreement means to the different membership groups within EE Consumer have just been emailed to those in each category.