Strong vote ‘YES’ recommendation as Virgin Media O2 pay deal goes out to ballotTelecoms & Financial Services May 10 2023
Members across Virgin Media O2 are being urged to accept a CWU-brokered pay deal which delivers fully consolidated rises for all CWU represented grade employees in excess of 7, 8 or 9% this year – plus a cash lump sum of £400 to be paid in June.
The company’s final offer – finalised last week following management’s agreement to pay an additional 0.5% consolidated award to individuals for whom no automatic pay progression arrangements are in place – is now subject to a consultative e-ballot which will commence tomorrow (Thursday May 11).
Taking both consolidated and unconsolidated elements into consideration, the deal on the table is worth just over 10% in cash terms this year for members working in O2 stores.
But even with the skewing of the deal towards lower paid workers, who’ve been hardest hit by the cost of living crisis, the proposed settlement is still worth 6.2% consolidated plus the £400 lump sum for the union’s highest paid members in the company – namely legacy NewGRID ‘C’ grade employees earning up to £50,000.
All other CWU represented employees in Virgin Media O2 receive consolidated increases in the median salary for their grade of between 7.1 and 8.8% – before the £400 unconsolidated payment and additional 0.5% for specific grades are taken into consideration.
A detailed breakdown of how the offer applies to the whole spectrum of grades are contained in Virgin Media O2 Members’ Bulletin No.79/2023 but the main component elements of the deal include:
- The 2% consolidated increase for 2023/24 that Virgin Media O2 attempted to impose last year – prior to the industrial action ballot that secured the company’s agreement that 2% was simply a starting point for this year’s talks
- An additional £1,500 consolidated increase on annual basic salaries for all employees earning under £50,000 (pro-rated for part-time employees) – payable, alongside the 2%, from August 1 this year
- A non-consolidated payment of £400 (not pro-rated), in recognition that this year’s pay review is being implemented later than usual, being made in June salaries
- A firm commitment by management to review pay progression arrangements for those who do not currently have them prior to the 2024 salary review – with a view to understanding how this could be harmonised with the rest of the organisation – and the 0.5% consolidated rise in the interim for those either at or below the middle of their pay range.
Recommending the offer to members, CWU national officer Tracey Fussey told CWU News: “From the outset of negotiations, the National Team was 100% focussed on the need to secure a meaningful rise across the entire CWU-represented grade range that reflects the fact that, while inflation is predicted to fall sharply later this year, the cost of living crisis is anything but over.
“We’re therefore really pleased that we’ve managed to broker a deal for 2023/24 that we believe will go a long way to restoring the value of base salaries before the next pay review date – while simultaneously addressing the immediate cost of living challenges that we know our members are facing.
“The deal before members is undoubtedly at the top end of pay settlements across the whole of British industry at present, and for that our members in Virgin Media O2 have every reason to be proud of their rock solid rejection of the two year settlement the company tried to impose last year.
“It was their unmistakable resolve to fight, if necessary, for a better deal that was instrumental in securing not just last year’s additional Cost of Living Allowances, but also the fresh negotiations to seek an improvement on the 2% initially proposed for this year that have secured the transformed offer that is now on the table.
Tracey concludes: “One thing that has been very noticeable in this year’s pay talks has been the constructive and positive approach taken by management from the very outset. This is a refreshing change and one the CWU very much welcomes.
“Above everything I’d like to thank members for their patience and support throughout our discussions with the company to achieve the very best deal we could in what remains an extremely challenging economic climate.”
- The forthcoming e-ballot will open tomorrow (Thursday) and close at 10am on Thursday May 25, with the result being announced later that day.