Nearly two years of determined CWU campaigning has delivered the prospect of four-figure pre-Christmas pay rises for 154 TMDE2 graded Fibre Network Delivery (FND) controllers following Openreach’s agreement that the work they conduct is ‘complex’ rather than ‘core’.
The breakthrough, which follows persistent lobbying by the union’s Openreach national team, regional coordinators and branches – backed up by powerful explanations by individual members of the overwhelming case for their re-grading – means that every single one of the existing TMDE2 Order Controller (OC) and Jeopardy Controller (JC) workforce is now being given the opportunity to progress to a new ‘Integrated Controller’ workstream .
The CWU has long argued that there is already considerable overlap between the OC and JC functions and skillsets – meaning that, in practice, many of the Desk Engineers in question (who allocate and help organise work for FND field engineers) are already conducting complex (TMDE3) work.
That means the self-certified ‘upskilling training’ the company is now rolling out to the entire TMDE2 FND control role population will typically be short – with a £5,200pa base pay rise on completion (£5,722 once the 10% OTB is added) being backdated to the day their training starts.
(NewGRID C3 graded FND control role employees, who are already on a higher rate of pay, are not impacted, and remain on their current pay and terms and conditions – as has been reiterated by Openreach managers.)
“This is a fantastic outcome for our TMDE2 FND controllers that stems directly from the persistence of not just the Openreach National Team, regional co-ordinators and branches in pursuing this issue – but also the contributions of individual members who have powerfully articulated the overwhelming case for re-grading,” explains CWU acting national officer for Openreach, Fiona Curtis.
“The company, to its credit, has taken that first-hand feedback from its employees on board. It may have taken time, but we’ve successfully moved the company to accept that this role is complex using Openreach’s own evaluation to help prove the case.
“This is a good example of us working collaboratively with management, not just to right a grading wrong, but also to provide a mutually beneficial solution to the transformational change stemming from automation that is taking place in the business.”
Commenting on the good news that was rolled out on Friday to impacted TMDE2 FND controllers in Glasgow, Leeds, Snowhill (Birmingham) and Cardiff, the CWU’s regional co-ordinator for Wales, Graham Colk told CWU News: “The union has been working hard to achieve this outcome for nearly two years now – and it’s fair to say the reaction of our members in Cardiff was very positive indeed.
“I’d particularly like to thank all those members who have actively participated in the campaign to demonstrate that the work they are conducting is more complex than it is currently being paid at.”
As one such member, Klaes Anderson, who is also a CWU site rep in Cardiff, concludes: “Thanks to the CWU we’re now in line for a £5k pay rise!”