Tata TUPE recognition deal triggers protections and a pay rise for exiting BT Digital members


Acting national officer Ken Woolley


A post-TUPE recognition deal, brokered by the CWU’s BT Digital National Team, guarantees a continuation of the union’s right to collectively bargain on behalf of team member grade employees who are part of a group who work supporting legacy mainframe systems.

Comprehensive protections have been secured for members who are in the process of being transferred as their work is outsourced to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – and the CWU has also successfully negotiated a pay rise which will be applied at the point of transfer.

Acting national officer Ken Woolley explains: “In addition to securing a comprehensive recognition agreement with TCS – something the company wasn’t automatically required to grant in this particular situation ­– we’ve also ensured our transferring members are getting an additional pay rise in 2023. Their next pay review date after that will be in June 2024.”

Another ‘win’ for members secured by the agreement that goes beyond  normal TUPE protections stands to benefit CWU represented grade transferees who are currently members of the BT Hybrid pension scheme (BTHS).

TFS Executive member Dave Stuart, who led that strand of the discussions, explains: “We always argue that the loss of the guaranteed benefit offered by the Hybrid scheme is worth something in a TUPE situation – and in this instance we’ve manage to secure an additional pension payment for anyone who losing that benefit as a result of their transfer to TCS.

“All those being TUPE’d out of BT Digital will be going into the same TCS defined contribution (DC) pension scheme – which is at least as good as the BTRSS, retaining their standard arrangements of 5% of salary member contributions and 10% employer contributions – but those leaving the BTHS will also receive a one-off single pension contribution of £1,000 from TCS on transfer.

“We’ve also managed to ensure that members’ current death in service entitlement of ten times salary transfers with them when they leave BT and join TCS – which the National Team regards as another significant achievement.”

Ken Woolley concludes: “The professional and decent way that TCS has conducted itself throughout the TUPE negotiations bodes well for the future of our transferring members, who largely work on legacy Openreach operating systems with a pretty limited lifespan.

“Many of our transferring members work from home -and, unlike BT, TCS has made it clear it has no problem with that going forward. Also, as growing multinational IT services consultancy that currently has 1,800 vacancies in the UK alone, we believe that TCS is likely to be able to offer redeployment opportunities for those wanting to remain in employment when the legacy systems they service are finally switched off.

“All told, we believe our transferring members have a bright future in TCS, and the fact that the CWU maintains full collective bargaining rights can only help in this endeavour.

“This has really highlighted the benefit of being members of our union.”