OFCOM Digital Communications Review Announcement

Dear Member,

You will no doubt be aware following press announcements this morning that BT and Ofcom have reached an agreement, on the future governance of Openreach. The settlement agreement will require Openreach to become a distinct, legally separate business within the BT Group. This will mean CWU members working in Openreach will be transferred from BT Plc to Openreach Limited as a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group. Members will become employees of Openreach Limited on the same terms and conditions.

We are pleased that the uncertainty for our members has now come to an end. It is however important to understand that nothing will happen straight away and not until key pre-conditions are met; which might take some time. Ofcom are expected to announce a further consultation on the final agreement next week. It’s vitally important that our members in the BT Pension Scheme are fully protected and their pension benefits are not affected, we will therefore make the strongest arguments in our consultation response. The pre- conditions are:

* Arrangements are in place for people to continue in their pension scheme when they transfer to Openreach Limited, including an extension of the Crown guarantee

* The BT Pension Scheme Trustee consent to Openreach Limited becoming a participating employer in the pension scheme

* Consultation with CWU and Prospect relating to the TUPE transfer of people to Openreach Limited.

Employees are safeguarded by law by TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 2006), which protects your terms and conditions when employers change. BT is required by law to consult with the recognised Trade Union before transferring employees. During this consultation process the CWU we will make the strongest representations, to ensure that our Openreach members’ terms and conditions and job security are fully protected.

Once we are given more details from Ofcom and we have fully digested the details of the agreement, we will of course issue another communication. In the meantime if you have any questions or comments on the news today, please send these to: ofcomreview@cwu.org

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