CWU victory on BT PBA agency contracts

For immediate release
09 August 2018


CWU victory on BT PBA agency contracts

In a major victory for the Communication Workers Union (CWU), BT has finally agreed to longstanding demands for an end to what the union has always claimed are exploitative ‘Pay Between Assignment’ (PBA) contracts.

Following detailed talks, the company has agreed to the phasing out of more than 1,000 PBA contracts by the end of  March 2019. In BT Consumer the resourcing revolution is already underway. The company has announced that it is looking to create roughly 1,000 new permanent roles across its UK call centres, allowing current Manpower employees (including those on PBA contracts) the opportunity to take up employment directly with BT.

In other lines of business, where there are a few remaining PBA contracts, BT will continue to review their resource plans in conjunction with the CWU.

Welcoming both the immediate announcement by BT Consumer – and BT Group’s wider commitment to draw a line under an exploitative agency resourcing model that the union has bitterly opposed from the outset – deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “This is a major shift in BT’s call centre resourcing strategy and vindicates the hard work that has been carried out at every level of the CWU to expose the many injustices that agency workers have faced since their usage became widespread in the early to mid-2000s.

“BT Group’s  decision to end the use of PBA contracts in their entirety is fantastic news. There can be absolutely no doubt that tireless CWU campaigning – to expose way these contracts exploit a cunning legal loophole that exempts their holders from hard won rights to equal treatment on pay that came about in 2011 on account of EU legislation – has played a significant part in bringing this change about.”

Assistant secretary Sally Bridge, who has led the CWU’s agency campaigning for more than a decade  – spearheading no fewer than four separate campaigns in that period as the precise nature of the injustices faced by agency workers have evolved in an ever changing political and industrial landscape – concludes: “While it’s very welcome that BT is finally doing the right thing by the hard working agency employees on which it has relied for so long, it needs to be remembered that agency injustices, which have become increasingly synonymous with the usage of exploitative PBA contracts, are rife in the wider world of work.

“As such, although our Close the Gap campaign has now achieved its aims within the context of our own membership, there will be no-let up in the CWU’s ongoing and highly successful political campaign for what’s really needed – namely a change in the law that abolishes PBA contracts once and for all.”


Notes to editors:

  • The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is the biggest trade union in the communications industry with 190,000 members in post, telecoms, mobile and financial services companies including Royal Mail Group, Post Office, BT Group, EE, O2 and Santander.

 For further comment please contact:

CWU Press Office: 020 8971 7267 / 07793 314249 /