Openreach Service Delivery – Unagreed Incentive Scheme Trial – Update 26th Jan 2021

26th January 2021 – OPENREACH – PTT, Flex and Unagreed Incentive Scheme Trial.

The National Team (NT) reported in Briefing 228/2020 the rollout of an unagreed trial covering PTT, Flex and a team based incentive scheme.

Our Branch View.
Briefings to staff will commence on Monday, especially in East Anglia. The CWU have refused the invitation to attend. The reason being is that throughout the trials, of which one was the Newmarket patch and the roll out of the National Incentive Scheme, the union was never consulted.
It is therefore for that reason, we do not want to be part of any collaboration with something we entirely disagree with.
The branch is also asking you to opt out of the scheme at the very first opportunity.

You are aware that the CWU Openreach NT initially discussed this issue with the company in the context of a “Basket of Measures” with the purpose of removing the use of PTT, for those who have joined the company since 2012, and aligning them with the Parking at Home policy.   The 3 strands to the discussions were around PTT, Incentives and Flex changes.   PTT was the main strand and the driver from the CWU but we accepted that the incentives and flex could create an overall package beneficial to both the company and our members, but only as a package.  The company has announced that the incentive trial will now be rolled out nationally.  Communication from the company will be issued to members.

We set out our concerns in Briefing 228/2020 that the company had little interest in either the PTT or Flex strands and this has been proved correct as the company rollout a national trial of the incentive element, but no extension of the removal of PTT or the enhanced Flex element.  The CWU’s objective is clear and that is the company switch off PTT for those who currently have that contractual commitment.

There has been no consultation with the CWU NT on the company’s extension of the trial, we were simply informed that this was to take place and the communications shared with us.  Once again in Service Delivery, driven by the Managing Director Olly Kunc, we are faced with a situation where the company is seeking no feedback or input from your elected representatives at any level within the organisation.  This was demonstrated most recently with the rollout of another ‘trial’ for a new role carrying out FTTP provision tasks, with far inferior terms, conditions and contractual commitments which will undermine our existing members’ employment security, attendances, pay, as well as terms and conditions.

This was the opportunity for the company to act in a responsible manner and honour the discussions that have taken place by removing PTT and extending the enhanced flex opportunities for our members.  All of our members have worked tirelessly through this pandemic putting their health at risk as key workers.  Day after day for months their contribution has been outstanding.  So why, when there is a chance for thousands of our members to get home to their families at the earliest opportunity, the same as thousands of their colleagues, does the company maintain this unfair division?  The simple reason is because ‘they can’ so they do.  No empathy, no compassion and no understanding.  This approach is driven by the senior leadership and we should make that clear in all the communications we have with our members and the wider community.

Once again “why” you may ask would the company act in such a way without concluding the discussions with the CWU?   It is now obvious that the objective is for there to be less constraint on how the trial is conducted and any changes that they may want to make.   While incentivisation may look attractive to some members at the moment, without CWU involvement what cost to our members in the future as the company seek to drive down costs at every opportunity?  Without CWU involvement the company will simply ratchet up the targets year on year making earning anything more difficult and place our members on a never ending treadmill.

We understand why members may not want to turn down the chance to potentially earn extra money, but this is short sighted and our concern is to protect their wider interests.

Many members have raised the issue of what impact this approach may have on the current contractual 10% bonus.  For the record, the CWU’s policy on that issue is that the bonus should be consolidated in to basic pay in order that it flows through to both overtime and pension payments, benefitting members both in the short and long term.  The introduction of the new FTTP role with the bonus based on completions, i.e. completely performance based, should tell every representative and member the direction the company is taking and the potential return to draconian performance management that will bring.

It took the CWU many years to get rid of the scourge of Openreach’s previous Performance Management Culture, and UNAGREED schemes like this could lead us back to that place.  Branches and members will appreciate why the removal of PTT formed such a key part of these trial negotiations for the CWU, given the importance to our members of this outstanding objective.

We need to be clear that the CWU is opposed to the rollout of the incentive trial on a national basis.  The NT has been presented with no rationale or data as to why something which is not properly tested should be rolled out at this point in time.  What is the real reason for this approach?  Do the company believe that rolling out an unagreed incentive trial will increase engagement and soften up our members ahead of the inevitable fight we have ahead of us?  If that is their belief, then they are wrong.  Our members in Openreach overwhelmingly supported the Count Me In consultative ballot and will do so again as the campaign grows in the weeks ahead.

The company appear to be bringing the fight to the CWU and its members and taking no account of the depth of feeling about this and many other issues demonstrated by their employees in the recent consultative exercise.  It shows a level of arrogance and contempt unseen previously and it is being displayed for all to see.

Members must think very carefully whether to participate in this unagreed trial.  If the company believe through participation levels that this approach is popular then they will consider changes to the current 10% bonus structure, they will continually up the targets and they will drive the culture back to the disgraceful performance management regime of the past. 

9th November 2020 – Unagreed Incentive Scheme Trial

Branches are requested to share this Briefing with all Openreach members but specifically target those in Service Delivery with a local message explaining the potential impact in your area.

Openreach members may have received (or heard about) a briefing and invitation to participate in an Incentive Scheme Trial called “My Team Incentive Pilot” being run by Service Delivery in a number of Patches.

To be clear this has NOT been agreed with the CWU despite what you may be told to the contrary.

While the CWU Openreach National Team have been discussing this issue with the company it was in the context of a “Basket of Measures” with the purpose of removing the use of PTT, for those who have joined the company since 2012, and aligning with the Parking at Home policy.  The 3 strands to the discussions were around PTT, Incentives and flex changes.  PTT was the main strand and the driver from the CWU but we accepted that the incentives and flex could create an overall package beneficial to both the company and our members, but only as a package.

What became clear was that Openreach were focused on the incentive part of the “Basket of Measures”.  This was confirmed when their proposal was to trial in 5 patches across the UK; all 5 patches would trial Incentives with 1 patch also trialing PTT and another of the 5 patches also trialing Flex.

No patch would trial all 3 strands of the package simultaneously at the beginning but COULD possibly be trialed later in December.  This is clearly outwith the principles of what we set out to achieve as a “Basket of Measures” which was made very clear to the company.

Discussions continued up to last week where the NT raised a number of questions which have yet to be fully answered.  A further meeting was arranged but was cancelled with 20 minutes notice with no explanation as to why.  It subsequently came to our attention, via our Regional Co-Ordinator’s, that the company intended to go ahead with their proposal on the Incentive Scheme part without any further discussions with the CWU.

“Why” you may ask would the company act in such a way without concluding the discussions with the CWU?  Perhaps because there would be less constraint on how the trial was conducted and any changes that they may want to make.  Already on the briefing that the company has prepared there are changes to what was discussed with the CWU.  For example, the original proposals did not include a measure on the SAM Delivery V Plan potentially reducing reward.

We would ask that you consider very carefully whether to participate in this unagreed trial;  in fact one of our requests for TMs participating in the trial was for it to be voluntary on an OPT IN basis.  That also seems to have changed in the briefing pack.  While this may look attractive to some at the moment, without CWU involvement what cost to you in the future as the company seek to drive down costs at every opportunity.

It took us many years to get rid of the scourge of Openreach’s previous Performance Management Culture, and UNAGREED schemes like this could lead us back to that place. Members will appreciate why the removal of PTT formed such a key part of these trial negotiations for the CWU, given the importance to our members of this outstanding objective. It is for this reason, that we need to relay our bitter disappointment that Openreach SD management have chosen to proceed in the manner described above.

Whilst the CWU are not opposed to Team Based Incentives for our members, as long as they are agreed and fair, unless the Openreach NT reaches agreement on this Trial/Pilot, we would ask you to seriously consider whether you should take part.

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