Latest News

news icon

Openreach: Winter Attendance

20 September 2014

The National Team (NT) met Openreach on 19 August to discuss arrangements for attendances in Service Delivery (Field), NO&TV and DCoE during winter 2014 / 2015. The NT made clear to the business, based on clear feedback from Branches and members, that a voluntary approach would be the only basis of CWU support for changes this year. The NT set out the type of safeguards which would be required and further dialogue took place around those issues.

The NT has reached an agreed way forward with Openreach for voluntary changes to attendances within these units for this winter. It is important to note that whilst Openreach will set out their business rationale for the process and invite individuals to choose an alternative pattern, no pressure will be placed on anyone to do so.

The details of the agreement and safeguards are as follows:

  • The scope of people given the choice to volunteer will be as last year for Service Delivery Field (North and South) and NO&TV. In addition, all people in the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence (DCoE) given the need for them to support the field attendances will be included.
  • The full winter period for 2014/15 will be from clock change to clock change – 27 October 2014 to 28 March 2015, and people will have the choice to work more weeks with 5 days during this period. For the purposes of the voluntary exercise this year the maximum period of change will be 14 weeks. At the end of the respective periods those who volunteer will return to their previous roster pattern.
  • For Service Delivery and NO&TV who currently have a roster pattern with a RDO, they can choose to work an attendance pattern of either a 9 day fortnight or a 5 day week during the winter. People will be asked to vary their attendance pattern to a 9 day fortnight or 5 day week and choose, via a Formwise, one of the options as follows:
    1. The 8 weeks prior to Christmas (27 October to 21 December) and the 4 weeks after (5 January to 1 February).
    2. The 12 weeks after New Year – 5 January to 29 March.
    3. The 6 weeks prior to Christmas (10 November to 21 December) and the 8 weeks after (5 January to 1 March).
    4. For those individuals for whom none of the above options are suitable and would still like to make a contribution they will be able to advise which weeks they would be willing to work a 5 day week or 9 day fortnight over the winter period. This would be subject to a minimum consecutive period or periods of 4 weeks, with the number of weeks on a 9 day fortnight to be an even number.
  • For those who choose to change their pattern, as a result of this exercise, the associated rosters will not change the total number of Saturdays to be worked in a year.
  • Based on the feedback from members last year, the choices will not include the Christmas/New Year period from 22 December to 4 January when people will revert to their original roster pattern during these 2 weeks so as to avoid issues arising with RDOs and leave bookings.
  • Openreach will be writing to all people in scope in the near future inviting them to volunteer if they wish to make one of the above choices. Those who choose not to respond will remain unchanged and stay on their current patterns throughout the winter period. Whilst they will be encouraging people to volunteer to make one of the choices outlined above, Openreach will respect people’s individual choices.
  • In Service Delivery and NO&TV for those who choose an alternative pattern their start times on moving to a 9 day fortnight or 5 day week pattern will remain unchanged, i.e. if they had a 08:00 start time on a 4 day week they will stay on a 08:00 start time. In the DCoE they also will retain their existing start times or they may choose to start at 08:00 each day if they prefer.
  • Rosters with a scheduled finish time after 18:00 will be removed for the duration of their winter roster period for those who volunteer, and for those who are already on a non 4 day week pattern for the full winter working period.
  • Should there be a need to invoke Contractual Overtime (COT) during the 2014/15 winter period any engineers that have volunteered to work one of the above winter roster options will be able to return to their previous roster pattern for the duration of the COT period, if they wish, subject to those on a 9 day fortnight completing their roster cycle.
  • Last year we jointly used the personal and domestic (P&D) process to support individual cases where a move to a new pattern would present practical difficulties for people. As this is a voluntary based arrangement this year Openreach will not set up a specific forum and process though they will work with any such individuals who want to choose one of the options to support any P&D circumstances.
  • If an individual volunteers to change and their personal circumstances change during the winter period and as a result they wish to revert to their original roster pattern they will be able to do so.
  • All annual leave already booked will be honoured for those who choose to change attendance.

There may be a number of specific individual cases or circumstances, i.e. multiple people/parties that would need to be looked at on a local basis in discussions between the respective GMs and CWU SPOC. In addition, the GMs will keep the SPOCs informed of the levels of volunteers and address together any local issues as they arise.

The NT is more than aware of the sensitivity of attendance issues but a successful ‘voluntary’ exercise would assist us all in any future discussions on attendances in general and accordingly support this approach. There have been many voluntary exercises before and the take up has been varied. The NT believes that with the negotiated safeguards above in place then the level of participation should recognise the wholly voluntary nature of the process, and be better than in previous exercises.