Openreach Service Delivery Transformation

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First Response from Openreach

21 June 2009

Following the debate at Conference concerning the Service Delivery Transformation proposals the T&FS Executive have had initial correspondence and meetings with Openreach.

Openreach

Following the debate, Andy Kerr, DGS (T) and Ian Cuthbert met with Openreach to try to clarify the company’s intentions. The Openreach management wanted to understand the main reasons for rejection of the proposals and Ian Cuthbert wrote to them outlining the views expressed by delegates. He stated that:

"The CWU continues to be opposed to compulsory redundancy and to Project Beck."

"Conference took the view that, whilst there may be a case for additional or extended coverage, the current proposals were 'a step too far' and would adversely impact on work/life balance and quality time our members spent with their families. There is a deep mistrust on the use of the information derived through GPS technology that even the proposed Code of Practice could not allay. In terms of the proposed future grading structure, our Branches felt that this was too much of a reduction in pay for future recruits and were alarmed at the implications for people aspiring to be promoted in Openreach."

In his reply Clive Gunby, Employee Relations Director for Openreach wrote:

"We will seek to understand the concerns of the CWU around our proposed attendance patterns but we cannot dilute requirements to ensure we offer a level of service which meets the needs of our communication providers. In the absence of any agreement I am unable to provide you with the assurances you are seeking regarding Project Beck."

"Furthermore I must also inform you that we will progress with the deployment of GPS technology within our Volume Field Force with rollout starting at the beginning of July 09."

"I can also confirm that we will honour commitments around the issue of management style and will continue to work with CWU on those areas identified to a successful conclusion."

Openreach still believes that attendance patterns will need to change and the Union needs to understand what precisely are the company’s intentions in that respect.

The T&FSE is concerned that the assurances on Project Beck will not now exist. Openreach has stated that it will now move to progress and review its options. These will include issuing an Invitation to Tender that could result in a move to outsource all non-civils work, poling, all Complex work and Next Generation Access build. This is potentially one of the most serious challenges the CWU has faced. If Openreach proceed on this course of action, it could mean thousands of members being TUPE’d out of BT or unprecedented surplus labour within Openreach.

The CWU has already made public our opposition to Project Beck and/or compulsory redundancies. An Executive team is meeting with Openreach this week and will reiterate strongly that position as well as exploring whether there is any mutually acceptable way forward.

Openreach has never sought the Union’s agreement to the roll-out of the GPS technology, hence the Code of Practice formed one of the strands of the SDT package.