Industrial action ballot in Openreach for Repayment Planners – RESULTS


The industrial action ballot involving our Repayment Project Engineer members closed today.  The result are below.

  • Number of ballot papers sent out – 170
  • Votes cast in the ballot – 160
  • Individuals answering “Yes” to the question, or as the case may be, to each question – 138
  • Individuals answering “No” to the question, or, as the case may be, to each question – 22
  • Spoiled voting papers – 0
  • Percentage of number of votes cast in line with the number of individuals entitled to vote in the ballot – 94%
  • So a 94% Turnout, with a 86% YES Vote

This is an absolutely fantastic outcome and clearly shows the strength of feeling among the members impacted by the imposed changes.  Our RPE members have driven this campaign from the beginning until today in order to ensure that the RPE role remains as a team member grade.  This will undoubtedly continue and by acting as a collective we will deliver the outcome they set out to achieve. Read more »

29th January 2021 – Final week of the balloting period.

We are now in the final week of the balloting period and it will close on Thursday 4th February 2021 and thank you very much to all of you who have already voted. Your objective has been clear from the very start of this dispute and that is that the Repayment Project Engineer (RPE) role remains as a team member grade. You have all played a really important part in seeking to resolve this issue with the company whether that was delivering the overwhelming result in the consultative ballot, individually writing to senior managers setting out why you believed this is a just cause or supporting your colleagues who have been put under pressure throughout the dispute. The National Team (NT) and me personally thank you all very much.

The feedback we’ve been getting from members, branches and the regional coordinators has been absolutely fantastic,”
stresses CWU national officer for Openreach, Davie Bowman.

But as we are now in the final days of the industrial action ballot and it is important that those of you who may not have voted yet do so and we would ask you to vote Yes. Delivering a massive turnout and huge Yes vote is essential in order to get the company to see sense and resolve this dispute. We will, as a collective, take strike action when that is required and the company must be made to believe through the turnout and size of the Yes vote that you are willing to take that ultimate step.

Since we began on this road together you the members have driven the agenda, made clear to me and those carrying out the negotiations how strongly you felt about achieving your aim. Not just for you but for the customer, the business but also for those who aspire to the RPE role. The role remaining as a team member grade with all the technical and engineering skills associated with it is essential in your collective view. The company has made a mistake in your opinion and it is really disappointing that they do not want reflect and act based on your genuine fears and concerns for the future.

So this is their final chance, the CWU are willing to sit down and find a solution, but your negotiators need this ballot result to help us achieve your legitimate objective. We have been here to support you throughout and will be as we move forward together and win this dispute.

In finishing, thanks again for those of you who will have already voted and for those of you who may not have voted yet, please use your vote to deliver a massive turnout and massive Yes vote, vote Yes.

7th January 2021 – Formal notice has been served to Openreach that a statutory industrial action ballot will commence next week as a result of management’s steadfast refusal to engage with the CWU over the deep-seated concerns of Repayment Project Engineers (RPEs) about imposed changes to the grading of their role.

Furious RPEs took the highly  unusual step in September of asking the union to register their readiness  to take strike action against the belligerent new  management approach they were experiencing, voting ‘Yes’ by nine-to-one in a 92% consultative ballot turnout .

At the time it was hoped that would force Openreach to reconsider. Such expectations, however, have proved futile – with complete management intransigence setting the scene for the forthcoming statutory industrial action ballot.

Yesterday (Thursday 7th January), Openreach was served notice that voting papers will be issued to the union’s entire RPE membership on or about January 14, with the result to be declared on or about Thursday February 4. At that point, assuming a ‘Yes’ vote and the company’s continued refusal to change tack, notice will be served for industrial action to commence on or about Thursday February 18.

 Read more »

Read here about the background to this dispute and previous consultative ballot.