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Site Rationalisation Plan Must Change

21 March 2015

The National Team (NT) has met Openreach on a number of occasions in order to try and address the concerns of the CWU and its members regarding the Working Together programme. It has been made clear to Openreach that failure to resolve the situation between us will lead to the CWU using all means at its disposal in order to ensure the company maintains the maximum number of highly skilled and graded roles in as many locations as possible.

No Rationale

Throughout the meetings, the NT has still not been presented with any business case or rationale which would support the scale of change being proposed. The announcement with regard to a free for all leaver payment scheme was yet another example of Openreach attempting to unsettle thousands of members who are already uncertain about their future. It seems incredible to the NT that at a time when members in all desk based roles are under mounting pressure to increase productivity and the service issues associated with the Ethernet and Newsites products, that the company would embark on such a scheme. Our view continues to be that it is a cynical attempt to create the environment for some where they see their only option is to leave the company.

The NT would once again caution members from making life changing decisions because of the uncertainty created by Openreach at this time.

Plan Must be Changed

The NT believes that the current output from the 1:1 process is replicating the same levels of members who cannot move to one of the 23 Centres of Excellence. The result of this must be that Openreach take stock and realise that the ‘plan on a page’ created by spreadsheets that represent members as numbers and not people, must be changed. That change needs to be radical both in scale and impact in order to create the futures that our members deserve.

For those whose future is in a current Centre of Excellence site and will be travelling additional distances and for longer periods, the NT continues to press Openreach to discuss the provisions under the current ATC policy and fully recognise the long term financial impact on our members. The NT is absolutely focussed on achieving improvements from Openreach on this point.

Each NT member has been allocated to a CWU Region in order to provide support to the Branches and members in that locality. It is important that members keep in regular contact with the Branch in the coming days and weeks and feedback their experiences from the 1:1 process. The NT is collating that feedback and will be using it to further inform our approach on all of these issues.

Express Your Views

Communication is most beneficial when it is two way and the NT really needs to hear your voice with regard to the impact of these changes both practically and personally. The impact for lots of people will be different based on their current role, grade and location. The NT is determined to ensure that Openreach does not drive a wedge between members as the proposals for the movement of work and locations become clearer. We believe that every member is equal and that every member’s issues are equally as important and as the CWU we will, as a collective, stick together and deal with them in that way.

The 1:1 process allows you to raise any issues you may have with the proposed moves. Openreach have confirmed that no notice to move will be issued whilst there are any outstanding issues to resolve. Members are encouraged to discuss any outstanding issues with the Branch officers.

We have already been able to deal with situations where managers have given incorrect advice with regard to a number of issues including travel, grading and pay and pension protection. Simple things continue to be misrepresented, whether that is by design or not the NT is yet to be convinced.

The NT is absolutely convinced that the plan will have to change and Openreach will need to recognise the folly of the current approach in terms of the impact on our members, the business and the customer. The scale of that change can be driven by all our inputs and feedback regardless of location, role or grade. Use your voice and tell senior managers what you think using the communication channels open to you. This will be a crucial element of our campaign.

Our campaign will make them change course and the NT is determined to achieve the maximum number of highly skilled and graded roles in as many locations as possible. In addition, it is the NT’s view that when the company do change their plans then any individual impacted should have their position reviewed.

As the CWU and its members, ‘Together we can achieve that goal’.