· Why are we moving to Openreach Ltd?
As a result of the Digital Communications Review (DCR) with our regulator, Ofcom, BT agreed a set of Commitments that would give more strategic independence to Openreach. One of these was to create a new company called Openreach Limited – a legally separate, wholly-owned subsidiary within the BT Group.
BT agreed to transfer Openreach people into this new company following a consultation with the trade unions. BT is not proposing any changes to terms and conditions as a result of the TUPE transfer to Openreach Limited, and this will be discussed with both the trade unions as part of the consultation.
· What is TUPE?
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) protect employees when work moves from one company to another. It enables people to continue to enjoy the same terms and conditions in place at the time of transfer. In this case, the work of people employed by BT Plc in Openreach will transfer to Openreach Limited, and under TUPE the people will become employees of Openreach Limited on the same terms and conditions. We want to assure you that by following this process, your terms and conditions have legal protection at the point of transfer and that we will be consulting with the unions throughout this process. You can read more on HR Home.
· How does the TUPE transfer process happen?
BT has lots of experience in transferring employees between businesses. It’s working with the unions and where relevant other employee representatives to follow a legal process called TUPE to achieve this. We are talking to the unions about how this will work and will update people further over the coming months.
· Will people’s employer change?
Yes – people employed by BT plc in Openreach will become employed by Openreach Limited (a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of the BT Group).
· Will I still work for BT?
No, your employer will be Openreach Limited. Openreach Limited is a legally separate, wholly-owned subsidiary within the BT Group.
· What will I see change as a result of TUPE?
From a day to day perspective you should see very little difference in how you work, how you are paid and how your benefits are provided. Openreach Limited will continue to instil its own culture as it becomes more independent from the rest of BT. You will see some things change as they are branded Openreach Limited such as your payslip, your salary will show on your bank statement as being paid by Openreach rather than BT and some rebranded HR systems.
· What about long service awards?
Long service awards will continue to work as they do today and your previous service will all count towards long service awards
· What was the outcome of DCR negotiations with Ofcom?
We’ve reached a long-term regulatory settlement with Ofcom, which includes the future governance of Openreach. We’ve created a new company, Openreach Limited, a 100% wholly owned subsidiary within the BT Group and we will meet Ofcom’s requirement by transferring Openreach people into this. We believe we’ve reached an outcome that’s sustainable and proportionate, brings certainty for the future and is in the interests of all concerned.
· What has changed as result of the DCR?
Openreach has already started operating in a more independent way, for example it’s created the Openreach board with Mike McTighe as Chairman. This agreement gives further autonomy for Openreach in decision making and how it serves customers. We have created a new company, Openreach Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary within the BT Group and we will meet Ofcom’s requirement by transferring Openreach people into this. We have moved the members of the Openreach Board and the Openreach Executive Team into Openreach Limited since 1st January 2018.
· For people with previous service in the BT Pension Scheme, will that still be covered by the Crown Guarantee following the TUPE transfer to Openreach Limited?
The terms of the Crown Guarantee in relation to the BT Pension Scheme will not be affected by any transfer of employment from BT plc to Openreach Limited.
· Do my pension arrangements change?
If you’re currently a member of the BTRSS or NEST, there will be no change to the contributions being made towards your pension savings. Openreach will contribute as BT would have done, and the recent pension review changes apply to Openreach employees as they do for BT employees. For BTRSS members this includes changes made to the standard contribution rate, how pensionable salary is worked out, associated death and medical retirement benefits, and the arrangements for BTPS members affected by the closure of Sections B and C.
If you or BT pay non-standard BTRSS rates because you transferred to BT under TUPE, these rates won’t change while you remain eligible for them (and your eligibility to remain on those terms is also unchanged).
You’ll continue to use Your Rewards to select the level of your own contributions to the BTRSS, NEST or the Special Additional Contributions arrangement. When you transfer to Openreach your contribution level will be as you’ve selected through Your Rewards for October. Openreach will also continue to operate Smart Pensions on the same basis that BT does.
· Where can I find out more about pensions?
The pension intranet site contains useful information and links about pension arrangements.
· Will I still be represented by the recognised trade unions?
Yes – TUPE protects trade union bargaining arrangements and we will continue to recognise the CWU and Prospect in Openreach Limited.
· Is the DCR outcome supported by the unions?
The unions have fully contributed to Ofcom’s consultation process. They formed their own views on the conclusion reached which they shared with their members directly. BT is consulting with the unions on the changes and how the TUPE transfer process will operate.
· What do the unions say about TUPE?
Both unions have published communications directly to their members. They are actively involved in the TUPE consultation. Both unions are very experienced in dealing with TUPE and it’s a legal requirement that they will be involved in the process.
· What is the consultation that was referred to in the emails?
As part of the TUPE process we must consult with our recognised Trade Unions and representatives about the transfer and its implications for employees. You should make sure that as well as regularly checking the intranet pages, you keep up to date with communications sent out by the unions so you are fully informed.
Terms and conditions
· Will terms and conditions change?
No. TUPE protects existing terms and conditions and while we will discuss every aspect of these with the trade unions when we start consultation we are not proposing any changes to terms and conditions as a result of the TUPE transfer to Openreach Limited.
· Does this affect people’s length of service?
No, the length of continuous service is protected by TUPE.
· Will I get a new contract?
No, because your employment is not being broken your contract remains in place and simply moves over to Openreach Limited. You will receive an email in September which will confirm that you are being transferred to Openreach Limited and the date on which that will take place.
· Will you align all our contracts to be the same?
There are no plans to align contracts as a result of the TUPE transfer to Openreach Limited.
· Will my holiday entitlement change or reset?
No, your holiday entitlement with continue unchanged when you transfer to Openreach Limited.
· Who will I be paid by?
You will be paid by Openreach Limited after the transfer. Your payslip will also have an Openreach logo.
· Will people’s current employee benefits continue (such as saveshare / directshare)?
Yes, eligibility to participate in all-employee benefit arrangements such as UK saveshare and UK directshare will continue unchanged.
· Will I still be entitled to employee broadband
Yes. As a result of the TUPE transfer, you will still be able to take up all BT employee offers including broadband, mobile and TV.
· Can I still get employee benefits like discount travel insurance, retail vouchers etc.?
Yes you will still be able to benefit from everything that is available from Beat That / Perks at Work. You will also be included in the renewal process for Your Rewards as normal.
· Can I still buy shares in BT?
Yes. If you are currently participating in UK directshare or UK saveshare these will be unaffected by the transfer with any payroll deductions continuing.
· Can I buy shares in Openreach Ltd?
No. Openreach Limited will not be a public company (it’s part of the BT Group) so you will be unable to buy shares
· Can I still transfer across to other parts of BT easily?
We remain committed to encouraging career development moves around the BT Group. Many people benefit from working in different parts of the business and this will continue. We are working with colleagues in HR Services to ensure a smooth process for people moving between BT Plc and Openreach Ltd. You will continue to be able to access BT and Openreach vacancies through Job News and apply for them as you can today.
· What about the Openreach brand?
We have already started to rebrand in order to remove any reference to BT and the BT globe fromour logo. Rebranding will continue over the next few years to cover workwear, vans, buildings and passcards.
· Doesn’t splitting Openreach away from BT go against the One BT strategy?
No. BT wants to build the world’s leading integrated network, which means it needs to build the biggest and best mobile, fixed and WiFi networks. The work Openreach is doing to build a full fibre fixed network for the UK is crucial to these plans. The way BT works with Openreach won’t change – It is still a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group. Openreach will contribute to the success of the Group by being more independent and treating customers equally.Check out more information
· What can I tell customers, friends and family?
If you’re asked by customers, friends and family you can say: “We’re in the final stages of creating Openreach Limited; BT is consulting with the unions to start the transfer of Openreach employees into this new company. This should be straightforward and will be complete by 1 October. As always our focus is on providing a better service for everyone”.
· Are we required to make further systems separation?
No. There are no additional requirements beyond the existing arrangements.
· How does the move to Openreach Limited fit in with the people framework?
The people framework is a BT Group wide project and is unconnected to the TUPE transfer to Openreach Limited. The two projects will continue in parallel.