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Service Delivery Transformation

27 June 2009

The CWU has been in negotiation with Openreach on Service Delivery Transformation (SDT).

SDT has four areas under negotiation:

  1. Flexible Attendance Patterns
  2. Operations Transformation
  3. Team Member Grading
  4. Management Style

Background

Openreach work volumes have been affected by the general economic downturn and growing numbers of people are being placed in the Regional Transition Centres. There is little scope for redeployment of people to other Lines of Business, so without negotiated changes to reduce costs, there is potential for compulsory redundancies. Openreach is seeking to reduce Total Labour Costs by 10%, this equates crudely to a headcount reduction of 3000 jobs.

CWU has also been made aware of Project Beck. This involves BT Group considerating a number of choices regarding new networks, one of these choices could result in thousands of jobs and people being outsourced. The Unionís main aim has been to remove this threat to a significant number of members in Openreach as well as the prevention of compulsory redundancies. The CWU has been pressing Openreach to insource work, bring back work from India and to seek new work. The CWU Executive believes success in these avenues and the creation of new revenue streams would remove the very real threat outlined above and provide long term security in Openreach.

Openreach will not seek new workstreams or insourcing unless it makes commercial sense. This means reducing unit costs. A massive reduction in overtime expenditure would assist greatly. Openreach will need to have the appropriate attendance patterns to provide the coverage other communication providers will require. At a Special Meeting on 20 May 2009, the CWU Executive has considered all of these factors and agreed a package of measures in order that the hard choices going forward can be honestly considered by CWU members in Openreach.

It is only through the Executive recommending the package that the membership can have the final say in a consultative ballot. The Executive is also submitting an Emergency Motion to the Unionís Annual Conference seeking endorsement of this approach. In this way members can make an informed choice knowing the potential consequences.

Resourcing

There is a clear commitment that where surpluses are generated the various measures would, if agreed, maintain the long-standing approach to voluntarism in respect of redundancy.

Attendance Patterns

Changes to memberís attendance under The framework for Flexible Attendance it is a framework have to come through consultation and negotiation with the CWU at the appropriate level. The framework provides safeguards for people who genuinely, because of welfare, health, personal or domestic circumstances cannot work their allotted pattern.

Operations Transformation

Openreach has already signalled the intent to roll-out the use of GPS technology throughout the field workforce. It was vital therefore, against a background of job security being the prime issue, that a Code of Practice governing the use of and access to the information derived.

Grading

The Union has been pursing a re-grading claim for multi-skilled engineers against an Openreach belief that it was not warranted. The offer in the package is that around 7500 field members would see their salary increase by £900 through two instalments. There is also the commitment to increase the salary of CAL/FJ skills people on the acquisition of provisioning skills. Both Academy Coaches who were currently graded C2 and On-Site Designers would be promoted to C3. All existing people in Openreach (including those in the Regional Transition centres and BT Transition Centres) will retain all of their current terms and conditions. Further work is being done on roles in Service and Central Operations.

Management Style

In addition to the more general work being done on Management Style at BT Group level under Project Holborn, the CWU has been pursuing specific objectives in Openreach including a review of the Critical Defect process and disciplines arising from safety incidents. There is an acceptance by Openreach that there is an inconsistency of application and that the seriousness or lack of intent (mistakes) is not always taken into consideration.

Next Steps

The intention is to place the entire outcome of the Service Delivery Transformation negotiations before the membership in Openreach in a consultative ballot. Prior to this the Executive will be seeking endorsement for this approach from the CWU Annual Conference.

The CWUís negotiating team and the wider Executive has not taken these steps or negotiated this package lightly. It has been done to provide short and longer term job security for members in Openreach and their families. We know from the world around us and from the experiences of other Trade Unions, that level of security often comes at a price.