OPENREACH AND COVID-19

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 the CWU both nationally and locally have been doing all we can to ensure that you are kept as safe as possible during this public health emergency.   With this new strain of Covid-19 things are developing rapidly and the CWU Openreach National Team sought an urgent meeting with Openreach to discuss what additional urgent measures may be necessary.  The CWU Openreach National Team has now met with the company and raised a number of Covid-19 related safety concerns and in particular:

Training

The CWU have stated to Openreach that they need to ensure that only essential safety training should be taking place.  Where people are travelling from areas of high infection rates to low infection rates and vice versa this not only puts these individuals at a greater risk, but others too and risks spreading the virus quicker and further.  It is also an additional risk to the trainer, who is coming in to contact with lots of different people every day/week from all over the country.

Lodge Loans

Whilst the Government has designated telecoms workers as key workers and essential staff, that does not mean everything that Openreach does is essential.  The CWU Openreach National Team has made it clear to Openreach that, whilst we understand the Government’s requirements, they need to seriously consider if lodge loans are essential.

Travelling/Working Out of Patch

Similar to lodge loans the CWU have asked Openreach to urgently review whether this is essential and how this can be avoided, or at least limited, to avoid travel between high and low infection rate areas.  We all have to make a conscious effort to try our best to eliminate this virus from spreading and this includes Openreach.

The initial response from the company was that they were adhering to all of the UK Governments’ guidelines and following advice from the company’s Chief Medical Officer.  Whilst this is true, we believe the company need to go further to meet the Government’s aspirations to reduce travel and slow the spread of the virus.  We are currently awaiting a formal response on these and the other points raised at the meeting.

If, following an individual risk assessment either prior to or during any work taking place, you believe it is unsafe to continue then you must;

  • Immediately stop work
  • Make safe
  • Inform your manager

The CWU position remains clear, we will support you in putting your safety first.  
We will not tolerate your safety being put at risk.

Remember your personal risk assessment is final.  No one can override your decision.

Contact the CWU. The Union remains here to keep you safe and assist you through this difficult time.  If you have any concerns or need assistance, please contact your local rep or Branch.  If you don’t know which Branch you are in, you can find out via www.cwu.org/contact-us.

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