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BT Discipline Statistics 2008

21 April 2009

The CWU has had ongoing difficulties in obtaining reasonably detailed discipline statistics from BT. CWU Head Office has now received statistics from BT for January to December 2008.

January – June 2008

For the first half of 2008, the number of disciplinary cases resulting in a penalty being awarded was 741, an increase of 17.8% on the six months which preceded it, and by 73.5% over the figures for the second half of 2006.

The percentage of cases that are closed without any action being had declined to 17.6% - or 158 cases. This compares with a rate of 27.3% (236 cases) for the preceding six months and 46.1% (or 425 cases) for the second half of 2006.

Preliminary analysis reveals that:

  • Openreach contribute to over 68% of BT’s total discipline activity.
  • Offences relating to quality accounting for over 40% of the Openreach total.
  • Retail accounted for 25.1% of all BT discipline activity in this period.
  • Over a third of discipline cases in Retail related to attendance.

July – December 2008

For the second half of 2008, the number of disciplinary cases resulting in a penalty being awarded fell from 741 to 664 – a decrease of 10.4%. This of course has to be put in the context of the declining number of employees in the company but still suggests the number of discipline cases resulting in penalty being awarded has peaked. It is still more than 55% higher than the equivalent period in 2006.

The percentage of cases closed without any action being taken declined to 14.7% - or 114 cases. This is the continuation of a worrying trend and compares with a rate of 17.6% (158 cases) in the first half of 2008, and 46.1% (425 cases) for the second half of 2006. This means that whereas in the second half of 2006 if a member was charged with misconduct they had a nearly 1 in 2 chance of surviving without a penalty being awarded, the figure is now 1 in 8.

Preliminary analysis reveals that:

  • Openreach contributes to over 66% of BT’s total number of discipline cases.
  • Quality accountied for 38.5% of the Openreach total.
  • The number of discipline cases relating to Attendance in Openreach is a new feature in the current set of statistics and need to be monitored with concern.
  • Retail account for 17.6% of all BT discipline cases
  • Attendance and Manner/Style being the leading causes of disciplinary sanctions awarded in Retail. These two categories account for more than half of Retail’s discipline activity.

Concerns about the continuing increase of discipline cases

The CWU has raised concerns about the continuing increase of discipline cases. The company accepted that “the bar has been raised” and that the consequence for employees failing to meet conduct and quality standards will “become more critical. Things that were let go, aren’t any more”. The rationale for this approach is a “greater focus on performance”. However a review of quality-related discipline cases in Openreach was instigated.

The CWU has criticised the company that this represented a change in standards that has not been communicated. The company accepted this and reaffirmed it’s belief that employers have a clear duty to communicate any such changes – but also expected that conduct–related dismissals to rise in pursuit of an objective of increasing standards.

Spreadsheets showing the full analysis are available via the branch office.