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Openreach SD - Resourcing Fibre Projects

7 March 2013

The National Team (NT) have been discussing the requirements for direct labour (DL) and any use of thrid-party labour in Openreach from 1 April 2013. During those discussions the company set out their proposed requirements related to the up and coming launch of BT Sport by BT Retail, as well as further campaigns and special offers for scale purchases on fibre products.

The potential demand for the TV product (and therefore FTTC or FTTP required to support it) is the most unpredictable. It is estimated to peak during Q2 of the next financial year and then reduce significantly throughout Q3 and Q4. This will be influenced by the level of demand for the self install product.

The NT will be discussing the specific requirements for any third-party labour under the terms of the High Level Resourcing Principles (HLRP) Agreement. Openreach have confirmed that any future use of third-party resource to support non permanent work will be held within the terms of the HLRP with the aim of reaching an agreed way forward.

External Recruitment

Openreach initially believed that as the TV work would not be permanent (the peak in Q2) then the use of third-party labour under the terms of the HLRP was their preferred resourcing solution. Openreach have won the work until October and BT Retail have awarded some volumes of this work to other providers in order to benchmark performance. After some robust discussions at a senior level within Openreach the decision has now been taken to externally recruit additional direct labour.

The additional recruitment will be on the following basis:

  • 400 apprentices who would be on a 30 months scheme, with pay based on B2 grade. At the end of the scheme they will have been trained and fully skilled to B2 level and would assimilate to the main B2 pay scale with the intention that they would progress to the B2 maximum over 2 years subject to meeting the required standards.
  • 600 FTE at B1 grade sourced as follows:
    • 200 FTE from ex armed forces civilian work attachment (CWA) converting from May 2013.
    • 400 FTE from other sources including current 3rd party, long term unemployed, friends and family, and further ex armed forces via new phases of CWA.

Openreach will work with the union on proposed alternative sources and routes to support the challenge of the pace and geographical coverage required for this recruitment activity. The NT will be particularly focussing on maximising the opportunities for the long term unemployed as it was the CWU that suggested this method of recruitment.

New VDSL and Home Wiring Engineer Role

The BT Committee agreed that the new VDSL and Home Wiring Engineer role would be graded at B1 (full Newgrid Tís and Cís) based on the job description and only for those solely carrying out that role. Openreach have confirmed that those who carry out the VDSL and Home Wiring role who subsequently move from it, or are required to attain additional skills consistent with another grade, will be placed on the appropriate point on the Newgrid pay scale.

Non-contractual Bonus Scheme

In addition Openreach wish to discuss with the NT the introduction of a non contractual bonus scheme based on Annex K of Newgrid for those carrying out the B1 role. The completed documentation will be placed before the BT Committee for final endorsement.

Progress Meetings

During the coming months the NT will meet Openreach on a monthly basis to discuss the ongoing resourcing requirements. The union will monitor the progress and ongoing demand for the TV work, fibre offers etc. to enable us to reach agreement on the level of additional DL resource required to support this as business as usual work in order to reduce/cease the use of third-party contractors required.