Shock TUPE at Huawei bodes well for future

Telecoms & Financial Services, Huawei

One of the speediest set of TUPE negotiations ever conducted by the CWU will reach its conclusion on Sunday (October 1) with the transfer of the union’s entire recognised bargaining unit at Huawei to Swiss-owned Connect44.

Less than three weeks after the 20 affected CWU members learnt they were in scope for transfer to a new employer, a deal was concluded that fully protects existing terms and condition and also provides for a long-overdue pay rise.

For six months the CWU has been pressing Huawei to honour the April pay review date that was set out in an earlier TUPE agreement when the workers were outsourced by O2 in 2012.

Shortly before Huawei announced its intention to sub-contract the work itself, the issue was escalated to senior management amid company claims that it wasn’t awarding pay rises to any of its staff this year.

But now the group of 20 transferees – all of whom still conduct technical engineering work for Telefonica – are in line to receive a 2.35 per cent pay rise from Connect44. While that rise is not backdated to April, their next pay review has been brought forward to January next year, making it effectively an eight-month deal.

Assistant secretary Sally Bridge told The Voice: “While this TUPE transfer came as a complete surprise the upshot has been a positive one for all those affected.

“The members affected include nine homeworkers spread across the country and 11 office-based staff working in Telefonica buildings in Northampton and Langley – and the CWU has received comprehensive assurances that all their terms and conditions remain unchanged – apart from bringing forward the pay review date and a minor change to the pay date that won’t occur until the end of November.

“Importantly we have it in writing that existing homeworking arrangements are completely unaffected.

“We’ve consulted closely with our members throughout via conference calls – and I think it’s fair to say that we’re all encouraged by the positive way Connect44 has engaged with the CWU to address members’ understandable concerns – something that can only bode well for the future.”