‘No choice but to fight BT sackings!’ – Allan Eldred CWU National Officer

BT workers demonstrating over pay – they now face a battle to defend jobs

THE DEVASTATING ramifications for BT employees of the brutal new management approach sweeping across BT is not just illustrated by the scores of compulsory redundancies that have already reached their sad conclusions. Dozens more are currently underway.

An even starker illustration of the depths to which BT has plumbed is revealed in the way in which potential redeployment options are now being actively thwarted.

Key safeguards negotiated by the CWU included Pay and Pension Protection (PPP) for redeployees directed into lower graded roles in situations where no opportunities for sideways shifts existed are being ignored.

Amid the current turmoil in BT, both PPP and EDDI (Effective Deployment of Displaced Individuals) are being challenged by the business as never before.

With BT currently intending to concentrate activities that are currently conducted in hundreds of sites into just 30 key locations nationwide, the potential for staff displacement on a gargantuan scale is plain to see.

That makes it particularly chilling that, when BT Enterprise claimed BT Group’s first ever team member compulsory redundancy scalp last May – despite multiple CWU appeals on behalf of the female Brighton homeworker – the business rationale for the final brutal act was shaky to say to say the least.

‘Management’s intransigence on this wholly unnecessary, even perverse, compulsory redundancy fuelled CWU suspicions from the outset that it was essentially a ritual sacrifice, pressed to its irrational conclusion to make an ideological point of principle rather than for any genuine business reason.

‘Sadly that conclusion has been borne out time and time again in the latter half of last year, with compulsory redundancy processes being repeatedly used to address comparatively tiny staff surpluses in different lines of business – needlessly creating untold anxiety and upset in situations that could easily have been addressed, or at the very least substantially mitigated, with a voluntary approach.’

Highlighting the importance of the CWU’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign fightback against BT’s current trajectory, Allan Eldred CWU national officer for BT concludes: ‘Ultimately we have no choice but to fight in defence of job security and all the hard won Ts&Cs and agreements secured by the union over many decades.

‘Those agreements are now under unprecedented attack by the company that agreed them. Whether those attacks are in BT, EE or Openreach, there is no choice but to hit back.’