Shock at Rivus Fleet as garage and jobs cull is announcedTelecoms & Financial Services January 14 2020
Just three months after the disputed sale of BT Fleet to asset management group Aurelius, the renamed Rivus Fleet Solutions operation has revealed plans to make 65 redundancies involving 55 team members from the closure of 11 garages and headcount reduction in two more.
The devastating news was announced to shell-shocked staff at the doomed Aberdeen, Blackburn, Boston, Chessington, Colchester, Dagenham, Ealing, Haverfordwest, Hereford, Motherwell and Walsall sites yesterday (Monday) morning (Monday), when all CWU-represented grades learned they have been placed in scope for compulsory redundancy.
Those affected include technicians, apprentices and administrative staff – with some managers also facing the axe.
Additionally, a further 27 CWU represented grades have been placed ‘at risk’ at the much larger workshops formerly operated by BT Fleet in Cardiff and Manchester. At those sites – which are not earmarked for closure – a voluntary redundancy exercise is being initiated in a bid to secure 10 job losses through voluntary means from three selection pools. These respectively involve 17 technicians and six ‘technicians in charge’ in Manchester and a further four ‘technicians in charge’ in Cardiff.
Yesterday’s bombshell came just four days after staff across Rivus Fleet were rocked by the surprise announcement of the immediate departure of their longstanding CEO, Henry Brace, who transferred over to Aurelius with his staff on October 1 after 17 years in BT.
Outlining the CWU’s response to the subsequent garage rationalisation and job loss announcement, the union’s T&FS Executive member for Rivus Fleet and chair of the national team, Tracey Fussey, said: “The timing of Henry Brace’s departure will be interpreted in many different ways, but it’s certainly fair to say that it created shockwaves on account of the fact that he had made the journey to Rivus Fleet along with his staff.
“Yesterday’s news that nearly a fifth of the garage network (17 per cent) will have gone in just a few months is deeply depressing, not least because it has come very early following the sale of BT Fleet to Aurelius.
“While this time last year our members in the garages felt pretty secure working for BT they now find themselves facing a compulsory redundancy situation that is very fast moving – creating a level of uncertainty for members and their families that cannot not be over-estimated.
“The CWU’s top priority for our members in Rivus Fleet now is to try to mitigate the threat of compulsory redundancy as far as we can by maximising the potential for redeployment.”
“We will be seeking for Rivas to explore all opportunities including vacancies at other garages. The CWU is also starting to explore whether there might be any job opportunities available in BT or Openreach that Rivus Fleet members could potentially apply for,” Tracey continues.
“We’ve also raised with management the moral imperative of them doing everything they can to fulfill their commitments to the apprentices who are based in the garages earmarked for closure.”
The union’s most immediate response, however, will be to visit all of the affected sites as soon as possible in order to deliver the practical support and advice that members require.
Tracey concludes: “Myself and other members of the national team commenced this exercise with immediate effect – starting yesterday. “Conscious, however, that we cannot get round to everyone immediately, my advice to in-scope members who feel they need immediate guidance and representation from the union is to make contact with your local branch in the first instance or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* For further information, please see LTB No. 017/2020