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Openreach: SD NS Multi Skilled Engineer

15 November 2017

The National Team (NT) have been in discussions with Openreach relating to the introduction of an upper pay point role within the Network Solutions (NS) function within Service Delivery (SD).

Openreach have confirmed the outcome of those discussions seting out a commitment for a further 300 direct labour employees in Q4 in addition to the circa 1800 already being employed this financial year. The NT will work hard to ensure the commitment given with regard to the reduction of third party labour is adhered to in line with the agreements between us.

The NT has sought to ensure that the maximum number of individuals benefit from the new pay point in line with previous commitments given. That includes, in this instance and without prejudice, the uplift being applied for those who the training is in the process of being booked and the individuals concerned have been carrying out elements of the work that would be expected of the multi skilled engineer.

The NT have, however, also secured a commitment that should any other cases arise, Openreach will look at these on a case by case basis. The NT has further sought to ensure that there has been fairness to the approach when determining the operative date for payment. This has resulted in individuals’ contribution being recognised through back dated payments which reflected that. The two most recent examples are in Business & Corporate Delivery (B&CD) and Infrastructure Delivery (ID) for those identified in the upper pay point role. It is disappointing therefore that Service Delivery has chosen an unfair and inconsistent approach.

These discussions could have been concluded earlier this year in line with the approach in ID, i.e. April 2017. The CWU and its members did not delay this process, quite the opposite; we have been challenging the company to reach a conclusion. Given that fact the NT believed, in order to ensure that this group of individuals were treated in a fair and equal manner, that Openreach should back date the uplift in line with those in ID, i.e. 1 April 2017. There are only 47 individuals involved, therefore this is affordable from the company’s point of view and demonstrates an investment not just in the ‘new’ but the ‘existing’ from a workforce perspective.

Openreach would not accept that fairness and affordability would apply in these circumstances and the new pay rate will therefore apply from 1 October 2017. Whilst the uplift will undoubtedly be welcomed by those for whom it will apply, the NT are sure they will be disappointed and feel somewhat aggrieved that Openreach chose to treat them differently.