Members should have by now received the latest Count Me In bulletin, giving details of the agreement with the company on a wide range of issues. It can be found below.
Our branch understands that some members may be somewhat disappointed in the outcome of these “intensive negotiations”, with, on the surface, little progress in the main areas of disagreement, namely compulsory redundancies and this years pay deal. Also no news on the repayment planners dispute.
Our branch view will be communicated shortly, after we have more time to digest the complete agreement which spans over 80 pages. However regardless of our view, the union must offer every member an opportunity to have your say. The CWU has a proud history of putting all pay deals and negotiated changes to terms and conditions to an all members ballot and that must continue.
But as Andy Kerr states in the bulletin,
“This agreement will increase job security, secure UK based roles, implement fairer grading and pay structures, see the opportunity for upskilling and see the union become a powerful stakeholder rather than an observer to BT’s plans.”
“the momentum that we achieved with the Count Me In campaign pushed BT Group back to the negotiating table.”
Also, more information is to be released over the coming weeks and more talks with the company are taking place, so as was stated at a recent forum “It is a good start” and we await more positive news with future updates.
8th July 2021 – Count Me In Campaign – Agreement Reached With BT Group.
We are pleased to announce that after a period of intensive negotiations, we have reached an agreement with the company, across all CFU’s, covering a wide range of issues
The CWU Executive has endorsed the agreement and we will now set out a clear programme of communications to engage you on the settlement in the coming weeks.
The agreement represents a huge turnaround from where we were 18 months ago, and I want to be absolutely clear – this is because of the Count Me In campaign and the outstanding support we have received from our branches and members.
Better Workplace – We have moved from the position of arbitrary change to one of negotiation. We genuinely believe the agreement we have reached will: protect jobs; puts the union back in the room; and delivers a new framework, which moves BT away from making knee-jerk decisions, without our agreement.
Pay – We were told 18 months ago there was no money for pay. The pressure of the campaign forced BT into making the £1000 Bonus payment. We do not agree that this is enough but through these negotiations, it has been clear that pay is a major issue for the employer. Despite this, we have agreed a plan for simplifying and resolving currently unagreed pay points, which will benefit a significant number of CWU members, and we have also secured a commitment to a consolidated pay rise for all CWU Represented Grades in April 2022. None of this was on the table before our campaign.
Redundancy – BT were moving ahead, at pace, with an unagreed plan which would have cut thousands of jobs. Change will still happen, but it will be negotiated, and we will see proper consultation and engagement. We have secured protections for our members in this area and the chance for the union to input directly – at Group level – into the future strategy.
This agreement will increase job security, secure UK based roles, implement fairer grading and pay structures, see the opportunity for upskilling and see the union become a powerful stakeholder rather than an observer to BT’s plans.
The employer’s strategy is a long term one and that will mean this agreement is a living and breathing document. With this in mind, we will continue to engage members throughout the coming months on any progress (or otherwise) we make with the company. It is crucial that despite reaching agreement, we maintain the pressure and momentum that we achieved with the Count Me In campaign. It is this approach which has shifted BT Group.
In the coming weeks we will engage with members on the full terms of the agreement via podcasts, videos, and email.
My final message is one of thanks. The work that has been done, across the union in the last 18 months has been incredible. We have gained new members, representatives, and activists. It is because of your work and the countless meetings and communications that we are in a more positive position.
I look forward to communicating further with you all next week.
Deputy General Secretary (T&FS)
4th August 2021 – COUNT ME IN CAMPAIGN – Agreement ‘Explainer Facebook Videos’
Head Office, Andy Kerr, Deputy General Secretary has released a set of Facebook videos explaining more about the framework agreement with BT.
16th July 2021 – COUNT ME IN CAMPAIGN – Putting some meat on the bone.
8th July 2021 – COUNT ME IN CAMPAIGN – AGREEMENT REACHED WITH BT GROUP – Read more »
26th May 2021 – Update from Andy Kerr – Deputy General Secretary (T&FS).
Please use the links below to view latest update on talks with BT with regard to ongoing issues.
12th May 2021 – Major Announcement – Wednesday 12th May.
A live session was held on Wednesday 12th May at 08:00 to make a major announcement to all BT, Openreach and EE members with regard to the progress of the industrial action ballot.
The union is now in a position to ballot members, following membership checks to ensure we meet all the legal requirements for an official industrial action ballot. The ‘Count Me In’ campaign has forced BT back to the negotiation table where, hopefully, serious talks will take place. Whist these talks are ongoing, the CWU has agreed to ‘Pause’ the ballot for industrial action and BT has agreed to suspend any actions that could result in any redundancies.
To watch the announcement all you will need to do is visit the CWU National Facebook, YouTube or Twitter channels or via the direct link below.
Andy Kerr gives the company three weeks’ notice to halt its attack on the workforce, or face the prospect of a nationwide strike… Read more »
23rd April 2021 – Update from Andy Kerr on the Industrial Action National Ballot.
Discussions have been taking place with BT, Openreach and EE on a wide range of issues. But at this point, no agreement has been reached and significant issues remain unresolved.
On this basis, it is absolutely critical that the sole focus remains on returning the biggest possible yes vote in a national industrial action ballot.
It is taking some time to ensure we meet all the legal requirements for an official industrial action ballot, we are in the
final stages of verifying the membership data, which is essential to ensure we do not fall foul of the anti-Trade Union
legislation. We will share the details of the final timetable as soon as we can.
There will be a series of live sessions, home mailings, virtual meetings and various other forms of communications to members in the coming days and weeks. For now, we need you to make sure you take the opportunity to speak to all of your colleagues and urge them to vote and vote yes in the forthcoming ballot.
If we stand together, we will win this dispute.
24th March 2021 – Andy Kerr and President Karen Rose gave an update to members on the Count Me In campaign and National Ballot via CWU Live.
Use the links below for catch-up views.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/981299138616232/posts/3855559731190144/
10th March 2021 – In a major announcement made on Wednesday on YouTube and Facebook, the CWU has called an Industrial Action ballot across all CWU members in BT, Openreach and EE.
A major announcement was made to members on the CWU national Facebook, YouTube and Twitter channels, watched by nearly 8,000 members. The session can be viewed by visiting any of our channels at 6:30pm or via the direct links below.
Why You Should Vote YES in the recently announced Industrial Action Ballot.
“It’s NOT JUST ABOUT COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES.
BT are attacking our agreements, which have been fought for over the years and are now at risk of being torn up, if we, me and you, do not show support for our Union and solidarity for our fellow members, some of who are presently on industrial action over unagreed changes to their terms and conditions.
BT will be watching us closely over the next few weeks and months, looking for weakness and seeing what they can get away with next.
Changes to Compulsory and Voluntary redundancy terms. No consolidated pay rise this year. Un-agreed enforced COT (Compulsory Overtime). Personal Travel Time and Pay and Protection agreements ignored. Staff being made redundant and their jobs being off-shored. Closure of offices, soon there will be none in our branch area.
More contractors installing our Fibre Network. New staff being employed on unagreed pay rates. Threats to terms and conditions.
The list of attacks growing day by day.”
‘People are at risk of redundancy, not because they’re not good at their job, not because their role is going, only because they live somewhere that it doesn’t suit BT for them to live’.CWU Deputy General Secretary – Andy Kerr
‘Our argument is BT could have these people working remotely. BT is a technology company that’s selling this technology to everybody else to allow them to work remotely, but they are not using it as much as they should be in its own company.’
18th February 2021 – Day of Action – Video Message
18th February 2021 – Regional Meeting – Members call – Update on Count Me In Campaign.
The Eastern Region, which embraces our branch, will be holding a video meeting at 7:00pm on Thursday, February 18th, 2021, for all members, to give an update of the Count Me In Campaign including the Industrial Action planned for the Repayment Project Planners, following their YES vote. If you haven’t received details with regard to the meeting via email, please contact one of our branch officers.
The CWU has now served formal notice of strike action within the Repayment Project Planners community to take place between 00:01 on Wednesday 24 February 2021 until 23:59 Thursday 25 February 2021. The NT has listened carefully to the views of individual members, as well as the excellent input from your campaign group representatives, and believes that this initial period of strike action is proportionate and will be effective.CWU OPENREACH NATIONAL TEAM
This follows a meeting with management, where, unfortunately, in the view of the CWU National Team, significant progress was not made and the company merely wanted to ‘check again’ that the issues we were raising were fully understood and supported by you. Given the magnitude of both ballot results this was a more than a disappointing outcome.
3rd February 2021 – Workers to BT: Get Serious in Negotiations or Face Industrial Action.
In an article for the Tribune magazine, Andy Kerr spells out the Unions committement to an Industrial Action ballot.
In December, CWU members in BT Group overwhelmingly rejected the company’s plans for mass redundancies. Now they have a message: start real negotiations soon, or we ballot for industrial action.Andy Kerr – CWU Deputy General Secretary
In December, the CWU announced a thumping yes vote and return in a national consultative ballot of our members in BT Group.
In a vote of around 45,000 members we achieved a 76% turnout and a huge 97% yes vote. This was a huge mandate of support for the work of our union but equally, it was a rejection of the slash and burn culture which has been adopted by management.
In the coming days and weeks, we will seek to progress negotiations with the company. This has been achieved because of the leverage given to us by the members in the ballot. My message to BT Group is very simple – either these talks get serious quickly or we will move towards an official national industrial action ballot. Read more from this article in the Tribune »
19th January 2021 – New redundancy bombshell for Technology and Enterprise members following ‘bizarre and shambolic’ IT outsourcing announcement.
Announcement brings about more urgency. Read more »
12th Jan 2021 – Update on the CWU Count Me In campaign.
Last month 98% of you told us that you would be willing to take industrial action if BT do not change their stance and continue with their ‘race to the bottom strategy’. You have shown support for your union and taken a stand against BT’s approach and, once again, we thank you for this. Consequently, knowing that we have your full backing, we are now able to embark upon more serious negotiations with BT, with the following aims:
- An agreement on job security for all our members
- A fair grading, pay and reward structure including EE
- A re-skilling and training agreement that increases redeployment opportunities
- A fair and enhanced voluntary redundancy package
- A reinstatement of the legally binding element of the pensions agreement
We will provide updates as regularly as we can, but in the meantime, the ‘Count Me In’ campaign will continue. We need to stress that should the negotiations fail to achieve an agreement, we need to be ready to take the next steps, without delay, via a statutory industrial ballot.
It is absolutely vital that you continue to ensure your personal records are correct, and encourage your colleagues to do likewise. Details such as home addresses, personal email addresses, mobile phone numbers and workplaces must be kept up to date continually for every member. Please contact your branch if you have recently changed any of your personal contact details or to verify those we have on record are correct. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know how hard you are all working out there as Key Workers, we will provide updates as often as we can, and in the meantime please take care and stay safe.
Background to the Count Me In Campaign.
Throughout the past few months CWU members across BT, EE and Openreach have delivered a consistent, loyal and essential service. You are one of those key workers and I thank and congratulate you for all you have done keeping essential services, businesses, families and friends connected with one another in what has been a challenging, tragic and unprecedented moment in our lives. Read more »
“Still confused to why you should vote YES?
One of your branch officers should be ringing you over the next few days
or you can contact them here.”
19th November 2020 – National Consultative Ballot Opens.
A comprehensive ‘YES’ Vote is needed!!
“It’s NOT JUST ABOUT COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES, BT are attacking our agreements, which have been fought for over the years and are now at risk of being torn up, if we, me and you, do not show support for our Union. BT will be watching us closely over the next few weeks and months, looking for weakness and seeing what they can get away with next.
Changes to Compulsory and Voluntary redundancy terms. Un-agreed enforced COT (Compulsory Overtime). Personal Travel Time, Pay and Protection ignored. Staff being made redundant and their jobs being off-shored. Closure of offices, soon none in our branch area. More contractors installing our Fibre Network. Attacks on Union representatives. Threats to terms and conditions. The list of attacks growing day by day.”
“Is this a concerted attack on the CWU as a whole with now, more attacks, on Rivus / Fleet” – see here.
A comprehensive ‘YES’ Vote is needed!!
5th November 2020 – National Consultative Ballot.
A consultative ballot for industrial action is going to be held across all of BT. Read more »
22nd October 2020 – BT LOCATION STRATEGY MOVES
Following the recent proposed site closure announcements, within both the Midlands and Chester over the last couple of weeks and with more announcements to come, the CWU wish to urgently clarify our position and would ask you to communicate the following key points to members who you know are affected.
- We do not accept the approach BT are taking in determining reasonable travel or our members. The company’s well established EDDI process is the agreed position between BT and the CWU. In addition, we are aware that some members have received consultation letters suggesting that they may be subject to the disciplinary process if they contest the reasonability of the proposed move. We totally reject that this is a matter for discipline and this approach is unacceptable. The agreed procedure under the EDDI process should apply.
- We believe that in the event that BT need to exit a building where our desk based members are currently headquartered that Home / SMART Working should be used to find suitable and reasonable solutions. This is especially the case given that the majority of our affected members have been working from home during the recent months as a result of the pandemic.
- The stance BT are taking, is in absolute contradiction to their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. Under these latest proposals, as they stand, many of our members would be expected to make excessive additional journeys and travel over 90 minutes each way to work.
13th October 2020 – Unity is strength, CWU tells members across BT Group, as Technology piles insult on injury
The seriousness of a compulsory redundancy bloodbath that is drawing to a head in BT Technology has today (Tuesday) been impressed on members in the division, with the CWU now convinced that the current jobs cull is about to be superseded by an even bigger one.
No fewer than 200 loyal and long-serving employees, who’ve given their all to keep the country connected throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, see BBC news story, are now within weeks of being forcibly ejected under what Technology admits is just ‘phase one’ if its ongoing ‘transformation’. Read more »
1st October 2020 – National Day of Action
BT has been served notice that the anger of its workforce will be on full public view next week as the union steps up its Count Me In campaign of resistance against multiple attacks on employees in different lines of business. Read more »
25th September 2020 – CWU & Prospect Joint Statement – Unions say Enough is Enough
The current situation in BT is one of grave concern to the members of both the CWU and Prospect. We are seeing redundancies being threatened and taking place across the UK, under the Better Workplace programme. Furthermore, there appears to be a process of permanent reorganisation across the business, again leading to the loss of members’ jobs and creating widespread anxiety. Finally, we believe the company are proposing to implement massive cuts to redundancy pay in order to make it cheaper to carry out their plans.
The CWU and Prospect are the recognised trade unions in BT. The Company has stated that we are the voice of managers and team members respectively in the business. Therefore, we are now using that voice to say enough is enough in terms of BT’s approach to industrial relations and more importantly, the treatment of our members.
We reject the aggressive and provocative approach of BT in tearing up contractual redundancy agreements that were reached only two years ago and put in place, following the closure of the BT Pension Scheme. We reject an approach that favours imposition over negotiation. We reject a location strategy that ignores where our members are currently based, removes BT from huge swathes of the UK, and is completely contrary to both the public health and environmental agenda that the company is signed up to.
In order to fight this unprecedented attack on our members, both unions representing BT workers are pledged to work as closely together as possible. The company will no doubt seek to continue its divide and rule strategy, using bodies such as the Colleague Board, who have no remit over your terms and conditions, to undermine the recognition agreements we have in place. However, The CWU and Prospect will reject any attempt to circumvent the collective process and will, wherever possible, campaign jointly to fight changes that are detrimental to members.
As union members we will be stronger standing together.
As unions we will achieve much more by fighting together.
Unity is Strength!
Andy Kerr – CWU Deputy General Secretary (T&FS)
John Ferrett – Prospect National Secretary
18th September – Andy Kerr’s Latest Message to BT Members.
An urgent rallying call has today (Friday) been issued to members across BT Group – with deputy general secretary Andy Kerr stressing the vital importance of across-the-board involvement in the union’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign.
Launched in mid-July, in response to multiple different manifestations of a belligerent new management approach that is sweeping across every single BT line of business, many thousands of members have already signed up in support of a concerted CWU fightback that is becoming more urgent by the minute. Read more »
11th September – Openreach Location Strategy – As reported in the i Newspaper.
Britain’s largest broadband network operator is introducing a new ‘location strategy’ that will see desk-based staff forced to work from one of nine sites. Read more »
18th August 2020 – Don’t betray loyal key workers, CWU urges BT Technology boss in damning open letter .
An urgent appeal has been issued to the boss of BT Technology to intervene in an increasing contentious row over the business’s current refusal to meaningfully engage with the CWU over ways the union believes staff surpluses could be addressed without the need for compulsory redundancies. Read more »
6th August 2020 – Andy Kerr – CWU DGS (T&FS) Article in the Tribune.
BT’s Attack on Key Workers. By Andy Kerr.
“BT workers kept Britain connected during Covid-19 – but instead of a reward from the company they now face forced redundancies and cuts to terms and conditions.” Read more from The Tribune »
6th August 2020 – Latest News on the CountMeIn Campaign can be found here...
An already serious redundancy situation in BT Technology took a further turn for the worse this afternoon (Wednesday 5th August 2020) with management’s announcement that around 30 more team member grade employees have been added to phase one of the jobs cull. Read more »
14th July 2020
Extraordinarily, the bombshell that BT has placed its entire office-based Aberdeen workforce of 97 members at risk of compulsory redundancy from as early as September 30, dropped mid-way through a special CWU online branch forum on Tuesday to discuss the fast deteriorating industrial relations outlook across BT Group.
At a stroke the jaw-dropping development – which is not just devastating to the individuals directly affected but also to an entire city that is already struggling to cope with the decline of the oil industry – gave unwanted but highly poignant additional launch-day impetus to the union’s Count Me In campaign of resistance.
Throughout the past few months CWU members across BT, EE and Openreach have delivered a consistent, loyal and essential service. You are one of those key workers and I thank and congratulate you for all you have done keeping essential services, businesses, families and friends connected with one another in what has been a challenging, tragic and unprecedented moment in our lives.
“It is, with a heavy heart that I am writing to you today to explain how your employer (BT Group) has chosen to ignore your sterling service and to highlight the urgency of how we must act in response.”
BT Group’s reorganisation plans involve:
- Closure of, at least, 175 sites
- An un-coordinated approach across Customer Facing Units (CFUs) which will lessen the chance of re-deployment and managing the situation by voluntary means
- Undermining and ignoring your agreements that protect your pension and voluntary redundancy terms
- Drastically reducing the pay, terms & conditions for multiple roles and grades
All of this will have an impact on you and your future job security. At a time of economic uncertainty and worry, BT Group is ploughing ahead with a radical reorganisation of its business; implementing changes that will undermine your existing benefits and job security as a BT Group worker. All of this to protect profit not people. The actions of BT Group are extremely shocking aggressive and morally questionable.
Your Union’s position is clear. We aim to enter talks with BT and campaign to:
- Increase job security and maximise the number of UK direct labour jobs in BT
- Agree a centrally coordinated response to redeployment across all CFU’s to create a pathway that allows retraining and reskilling well in advance of any redundancy announcements
- Maintain decent pay, terms and conditions for all BT employees by ensuring a fair grading, pay and reward structure
- Create a fair, enhanced voluntary redundancy package
- Re-instate the legally binding element of the pensions agreement
- Minimise the use of contractors and reduce off shore work to maximise employment for UK BT employees
Now is the time for us all to come together and get involved to achieve these aims. By getting involved you will help us create the necessary leverage with the company. Being a union member means we are part of an active community that achieve things together. It does not matter if you have not been active in the union in the past. There is something for everyone to get involved in to be part of this campaign.
CWU’s Response – BT Members, prepare to ballot – now is the time to fight
The video session Tuesday14th July has over 20,000 cross-platform views already. You can watch it back via the following links;