Openreach Service Delivery Transformation

article icon

Urgent Meetings with Openreach and BT

15 October 2009

Since the result of the last consultative ballot was announced the CWU Executive team has held a series of increasingly urgent meetings with both Openreach and BT Group.

Openreach

The aim was to try to find an acceptable solution that would remove the uncertainty from our Complex members faced with potential outsourcing. Given the Unionís bad experiences with the TUPE regulations, this had to be a real and immediate priority.

In the slightly longer term, the CWU team were conscious of the threat to jobs in Service and Volume through efficiency gains, mobile broadband and increased competition. If Complex work went out along with work on Next Generation Access, there would be nowhere to redeploy surpluses.

The threat to jobs in Openreach is very real and very much across all work functions. The only difference potentially would be the means and the timing.

When the T&FS Executive recommended the Attendance Pattern Framework it did so in the knowledge that there were no further improvements that could be achieved in the negotiations. Since then Openreach has confirmed that the Attendance Pattern Framework represented its full and final proposals and that it could not make further concessions.

The Executive has also held two meetings of Branches to sound out views of the Unionís direction, it was clear that there were mixed views on our next steps.

The Unionís Executive instructed a team led by the DGS (T) to urgently explore with BT a possible solution to implementation and that an agreed outcome is the subject of a further democratic consultation exercise with the membership in Openreach. The T&FS Executive considered the outcome of those talks at an emergency meeting on Wednesday 14 October 2009. It was agreed to recommend the outcome and the Flexible Attendance Framework to members in Openreach and that the consultation may be by way of an electronic ballot in the coming weeks.

Whilst the detail of the Attendance Framework has not changed, significant improvements in the timing and way of implementation have been secured.

Project Beck

If the CWU agrees the proposals (via a consultation exercise), then BT can assure the CWU that it will not proceed with the transfer of Complex to a third party (Project Beck). It is the endorsement of and implementation of the Attendance Framework that will make Project Beck go away.

Attendance Framework

The implementation of the framework will be phased over a significant period with additional interim parameters.

  • On 1 January 2010 team member contracts will be varied.
  • From 1 January 2010 to 1 April 2010 there will be a transition/awareness period during which local negotiations with CWU Branches will take place to determine the actual patterns people will work. This will vary dependant on work function, geography and genuine customer need, but will be governed by preset parameters as set out in the attached documentation.
  • Between 1 April 2010 and 1 June 2010, the negotiated patterns would come into effect. This period would run to 31 December 2010.

In terms of actual start/finish times, during the period 1 April 2010 until 31 March 2011, the number of lates would be no more than 1 in 6 and the latest rostered finish time would be 19:30 other than Saturdays when the latest rostered finish time will be no later than 18:00.

These are of course maximums and are subject to local negotiation with the CWU within the parameters.

Complex Transformation

Openreach is proposing a number of changes in working practices and processes aimed at achieving an improvement in its cost base of 17.5% by 1 April 2011. If this is achieved, along with the changes in attendance, Openreach believes it would be in a position to potentially insource work, including poling, currently carried out by contract.

Off-shored Work

If the new attendances deliver cost savings and coverage Openreach will revisit the basis on which the work was off-shored with a view to resourcing it with the UK based direct labour.

Implementation Steering Group

There would be a joint Steering Group, including lay CWU representatives, which would oversee the various programmes and implementation to ensure consistency of application.

Ballot

The proposals will be the subject of membership consultation.

This is not ignoring previous consultation exercise. Not to go down this path would be ignoring reality. This is absolutely the last chance to reach agreement through peaceful negotiations. It would be quite wrong and undemocratic to deny members in Openreach this opportunity.