Union Office, British Telecom, Becket House, New Dover Road,

Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3BB

Tel: 01227 760311 e-mail: cwumeridian@btconnect.com

Communication Workers Union  Meridian Branch
Young Workers and Retired Members pages can be found under the Member Services Tab
Latest Updates on Coronavirus (Covid 19) as we receive them.






***Coronavirus Outbreak - Update & Advice***

Latest information for T&FS please click here

Lastest information for Royal Mail please click here

*Count Me In campaign makes waves on Social Media*

Unprecedented numbers of members from across all parts of BT Group have been taking to social media to demonstrate their support for the union’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign.


***European Working Time Directive ***
**Not an ‘optional extra’**

Outrageous instances of some Openreach managers leaning on Service Delivery (SD)  engineers to sign away their legal right to not be forced to work for more than 48 hours a week have prompted a furious response from the CWU.


***CWU Count Me In***

BT members, prepare to ballot – now is the time to fight!

We will be setting out the aims of the campaign as well as clearly laying out the role of our branches and members in making it a success.

***Patch Lead Grading & Pay Snub***

The worsening industrial relations climate in Openreach took a new dive yesterday (Thursday) with an inflammatory management decision to unilaterally impose an unagreed grade and pay point for recently employed Patch Leads in both Fibre Network (FND) and Service Delivery (SD).

***’Perfect storm’ brewing in Technology***

With tensions rising in BT Technology amid management stonewalling on redeployment associated with the division’s ongoing transformation programme – even before the full impact of an unprecedented site rationalisation programme really becomes clear – the CWU is urging members to prepare for tumultuous times ahead.

***No-one safe from compulsory redundancy***

The latest manifestation of the belligerent new management approach sweeping across BT Group has prompted CWU warnings of a looming bloodbath of desk-based members in Openreach.

***Anger as BT Consumer embarks on career*** **progression ‘road to nowhere’**

The CWU has responded furiously to the roll-out of a new operating model in BT Consumer that will slash opportunities for offline work and effectively kibosh non-managerial promotion chances in the Service operation.


***Industrial relations outlook darkens in BT***

Unprecedented threats to job security and hard won terms and conditions across BT Group must be met with a steely and united show of resistance, branches representing members across the company have agreed.

***BT Pay - Ballot Begins from Today***

Meridian Branch acknowledges the fact that this is a poor offer. Were we in normal circumstances and not being attacked on all fronts we would be recommending rejection.

***SE Region Retired Members June Newsletter***

The latest edition of the Retired Members Newsletter with topics such as social care, declining transport services, calls to scrap pension triple lock & Digital working party - being online to combat lockdown loneliness.

***CWU Anger at ‘Provocative’ BT move***
**to attack reduncency terms**

The CWU has expressed its shock and dismay at BT’s unilateral move to ‘review’ redundancy and paid leaver terms by serving notice on the 2018 Pension Agreement.

***CWU Opposes Cuts in T&C’s for Lowest Paid***

In the middle of the Covid crisis BT Consumer has decided to cut the terms and conditions for new hires into the lowest paid grades. The changes have not been agreed and are totally opposed by the CWU.

***BT Pay Brief***

The CWU are disappointed with BT’s latest offer, we believe you are worth more!  You are the invisible group of key workers who have shown your unrivalled commitment to your work by being courageous and flexible to keep businesses and families connected, ensuring the population stay safe in their homes during these unprecedented times.

***Local Industrial Action Ballot Requests***

Further to LTB 059/20 dated 4th February 2020 that contained the timetable for the national industrial action ballot, I am writing to advise Branches on the current situation concerning local ballot requests.


***BT Enterprise***

*Proposed Changes - Headcount Reduction*

Please read urgent briefing below re BT Enterprise and proposed changes including headcount reduction. Be very clear that the CWU has a long held policy of No Compulsory Redundancies. If this is allowed to happen in BT Enterprise, who then will be next?

***Royal Mail Group***

*National Industrial Action Ballot Result*

Please find attached a copy of the declaration of the result for the recent industrial action ballot of CWU members employed by the Royal Mail Group (excluding members working in Royal Mail Property and Facility Solutions, and Parcelforce Worldwide).


***New Deal For Workers Campaign***

The purpose of this LTB is to update branches and representatives on progress with our New Deal for Workers Campaign and set out our next steps as we move towards the Trades Union Congress in September.

***East Kent Housing Failures***

We need your help - Please sign our petition.

***MEP Reports Back July 2019***

John Howarth’s first newsletter update since the European Election results in May.


***No place for Antisemitism in our movement***

Read the Labour Party’s statement on how they are addressing Antisemitism within the Labour Party.

***Communications Workers Union Statement***

Please see statement for the Communications Workers Union Statement required by Section 32A of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992


***Our Job Centre - Hastings & Rye Campaign***

Since a local drop-in job centre closed, people in Rye have been forced to travel up to 21 miles to claim job seekers allowance every week – but we’ve got a plan to change that.


***Vote for Steve Jones CWU NEC & PEC (PTS)***

CWU Meridian branch is supporting Steve Jones for CWU NEC & PEC (PTS) and we would like to be able to count on your vote.


***Industrial Executives & Regional Secretary***

*Elections 2019 - Change of Closing Date of Ballot*

As you will all be aware, there has been a delay with the ballot papers being posted by the company ERS. We have made further representations to ERS to secure an extension of the closing date from 24th July 2019 to 29th July 2019 to allow those members affected by the delay to have a greater opportunity to cast their votes.


***Switched Off: Save free TV for older people***

The BBC has announced they plan to means test TV licences for the over 75s. That means they'll only be free for people receiving Pension Credit. We believe this change will harm millions of older people who rely on their TV. Together, we must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences.

***Openreach Service Delivery Patch Lead***
         *(formerly Team Supervisor) Role*

The National Team (NT) have been in dialogue with the company in relation to the grading and pay rate for the new Patch Lead role. Branches will be aware from the contents of LTB 279/2019 that the company published an unagreed grade and pay rate as part of the Q&A documentation they issued. In our view this was outside both the spirit and letter of the agreements we have relating to grading matters.

The wording of the revised Q&A documentation, a copy of which is attached, has been amended to make clear that the process is not complete and the grade and rate of pay will be agreed with the CWU (see below).


***The NPC’s Monthly Bulletin May 2019***
The Lords attack pensioner benefits.
new report from the House of Lords has proposed scrapping the triple lock on state pensions, removing the bus pass and winter fuel allowance, meanstesting the TV licence and making universal benefits subject to tax.


***Regional Retired Members Spring Newsletter***
Last year saw the Union go through a process of Redesigning the Union at all levels. There were a few changes to the rules covering the Retired members of the Union.

***Understanding Women’s Pension Inequality***
Pensions remain one of the key battlegrounds in the fight for equality. Growing older may be something we prefer not to think about, particularly if we are worried about the state of our finances and how we can survive on a pension. Did you know that around two thirds of all pensioners living in poverty are women.


***National Pensioners Convention***
Catch up with the latest March bulletin for the National Pensioners Convention (Greater London Region)

***The Launch of ‘Our Hours’ Campaign***
On the 14th February we launched our new "Our Hours" campaign for all our members in Openreach. Removing the 60 minute personal travel time commitment is our top priority, contact the branch and get involved #CWUOurHours


The CWU National Team intend to hold a series of conference calls to consult with our members that are transferring to ISS on the outcome of the formal consultation meetings which will cover proposed terms and conditions.



Formal Consultation - ISS

The formal consultation meetings with ISS have now concluded and I am therefore able to provide more detailed information regarding the terms and conditions as well as the changes that will be applicable from 01 April 2019.

***NPC’s Campaign - January 2019 Issue***
News - Sixth delay for social care Green Paper.
          Mp’s line up to claim their free TV licences.
          Pensioner poverty increases.


***Branch Nominations***

Branch Nomination forms are required to be completed and received into the branch by close of play close of play Friday 14th February 2019.


***Launch of CWU Campaign #ENDGAME***
The CWU launched the #ENDGAME campaign yesterday at the National Branch Briefing held to discuss the recently announced news that BTPFS intend to outsource all of the Facilities Services to CBRE and ISS from April 2019.


*** BT Facilities Outsourcing Announcement***

The CWU has reacted furiously to BT’s announcement that it intends to outsource its Facilities Services division – pledging to vigorously fight a move that poses huge risks to the terms & conditions and job security of more than 1,700 CWU represented grade employees.


***Retired Members Newsletters***
Spring Newsletter
Summer Newsletter
Autumn Newsletter

***Consultation On Transfer To Openreach Ltd***
The CWU and BT have concluded discussions on the TUPE consultation, to transfer all Openreach people into a new company called Openreach Limited.

***BT Consumer Contact Center Transformation***
               (Impact On Manpower Employees)
A number of queries have been received regarding the impact on the Manpower Employees in Consumer regarding BT's intention to create a permanent workforce and offer Manpower advisors a BT contract.


***BT Consumer Contact Centre Transformation***
We have been in discussions with BT regarding their operating models in contact centres across the company for a number of months. As a result of our agreement BT Consumer will create 600 new direct labour jobs in BT UK Contact Centres and in addition will offer all current Manpower employees a permanent role over the next few months across the Consumer Customer Care operation.


***BT’s Social Media Policy***

The purpose of this LTB is to ask Branches to raise awareness amongst members on how the company’s Social Media procedure can be applied to employees, and try to prevent as many potential disciplinary cases as possible.  Social media is the term used for internet-based tools used on computers, tablets, and smart phones to help people keep in touch and enable them to interact.  It is also in response to Motion 30 passed at this year’s Conference, a copy of which is attached.

***BTPFS Pay Review 2018 - Final Offer***
This year the discussions have been particularly lengthy due to a number of elements that were outstanding from 2017 Pay Review

as well as the aim of the CWU BTPFS National Team to achieve a meaningful pay increase.

***CWU Member Benefits***
Check out the latest member benefits from Advice, Lifestyle to Travel.

***Manpower Employee Assistance Programme***
At this year’s TFS conference motion 78 & 79 were debated that called for Manpower employees to have access to an Employee Assistance Programme.

More >

***BT Consumer Site Standards***
Following consultation with the CWU we have now received confirmation that the Consumer Site Standards document will be amended to include a section on safety when arriving or leaving work.

More >

***BT Press Speculation***
Branches may be aware that there has been press speculation this morning alleging 6500 job losses in BT. Please find attached the article in the Financial Times. The CWU has issued the following press statement to allay any fear, members may have:

More >

***BTPFS Changes to Workplace Pension Contributions***
Further to Briefing 03/2018, please find attached Pension auto-enrolment FAQs.

More >

***BT Pension and Pay: Consultative Ballot***
Confirmation for the arrangements for the consultative ballot on proposed Pension and Pay Agreement for CWU members in BT and BT Fleet.
More >

***NPC Campaign Bulletin***
Please use the link to read the latest edition of NPC Campaign Bulletin April 2018
More >

***BT Pension Review & Pay***

Following the consultation period in January on pensions,

the CWU has been in negotiations with BT and those talks have now concluded.

The CWU Executive is now able to recommend a revised proposal which constitutes a legally binding agreement between CWU and BT and also includes a two year pay agreement.

***Four Pillars - Campaign Bulletin No# 33***
We are clearly at a critical and important point in this dispute, there is no room for complacency and we remain determined to secure the best possible deal for our members.


***Retired Members Conference***
Please see the Agenda for the Retired Members Conference witch will be held on the 31st January 2018.

***BT Pension Review Facebook Q&A***

Another chance to view the Facebook Q&A with Dave Ward, Karen Rose, Andy Kerr & Nigel Cotgrove.


***Zero Suicide Alliance***
Bereaved families have joined with over 90 NHS trust, charities, politicians and suicide survivors to launch a new organisation and movement , the “Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA)” Please read the attachments for further information.

***Bring Royal Mail back into public ownership***
Bringing Royal Mail back into public ownership would protect jobs, employees terms and conditions, pensions and protect a 500 year old legacy that should not be condemned into the history books to make profit for the few off of the backs of the many employees.

***Royal Mail Ballot Result***

CWU and Royal Mails Ballot result and what it means to you, its members.


***Terry Pullinger - Industrial Action Ballot Video***
Hear Terry talk about the reasons for Industrial Action and why the CWU you are urged to vote “YES”.

***NPC Annual Transport Conference***
This year’s popular annual NPC Transport Conference will be considering a number of important issues, including:

More >

***Good Mental health in the Workplace***
Work not only takes up a large portion of our time, it is also linked to our feelings of status, security and stability. Its enduring presence in all our lives, means work is well placed to support efforts to improve our mental and Physical well-being.

***Time For A New Kind Of Trade Unionism***

For workers across the UK the labour market is like the Wild West. Exploitation is exploitation whether it’s in a sweat shop or at the end of an iPhone, and the Taylor Review falls way short of addressing the problems workers face. 

***NPC Parliament Blackpool 6th 8th June 2017***
Pensioners defy the pouring rain and gale force wind to march through the streets of Blackpool to attend the 2017 Annual Pensioners Parliament in the Winter Gardens - Blackpool.

***BTFS Final Pay Offer – Ballot Timetable***

Further to CWU Briefing 06/2017 dated 2nd June 2017 which detailed the final BTFS Pay offer please

see details of the pay ballot as follows;

- Electronic email Ballot opens - Monday 5 June 2017 at 12 noon

- Electronic email Ballot closes - Thursday 15 June 2017 at 12 noon

- Result of ballot – Thursday 15 June 2017

All CWU BTFS members are encouraged to vote and to Vote 'YES'


***Manpower Pay Increase***

Following a number of queries into the office regarding the delay in the pay uplift for those Manpower employees that are on equal treatment contracts (non PBA).

***BT Pension Review***
BT has advised the CWU that it intends to review the current BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) arrangements. At the same time it has also given the CWU 12 months notice to terminate the 2008 Pension Agreement.

***OPENREACH – `Our Performance in SD’***

Changes to performance management in Service Delivery Field (this includes Regional Field teams, National Operations and Frames).


***BT Consumer Summer Leave***

Dates for summer 2018 annual leave have been released. BT Consumer are staggering the release of them depending on which function you work in.


***BT Pay Result***

The Meridian Branch recommended a NO vote but as you can see from the result below, the membership have voted quite convincingly to accept.


***2017 Executive Elections***

Branch nominations and recommendations.

***National Elections March/April 2017***

You will shortly be receiving a ballot paper in respect of the above elections. The branch committee recommends you vote for the following candidates in these elections:


***OFCOM Digital Communications Review***

BT and Ofcom have reached an agreement, on the future governance of Openreach.  The settlement agreement will require Openreach to become a distinct, legally separate business within the BT Group.  



There have been an increasing number of reports of managers in BT Consumer operating outside Group policy on medical appointments. The CWU Consumer National Team has raised this with BT on a number of occasions and we are working to ensure that the Group policy is applied.


***BT Passport - New Document***

The Personnel Team were presented with a new BT Passport which brought together the separate documents that exists on the BT Intranet. The team secured some changes and the intent of the document still remains an important record for members covered by the criteria. Health, Disability and Caring responsibilities are now recorded within one document.


***Work Related Stress***

Work-related stress remains one of the top causes of sickness absence according to latest statistics.

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work.


***BT Quarter Three Results***
As a CWU member working for BT, you will no doubt be aware of the accounting fiasco in BT Italia reported in the press this week, alongside the challenges in BT Public Sector, which caused their share price to drop 21% and BT to announce that profits and revenues may flat-line over the next two years.  This will have undoubtedly heightened concerns for you.

***Terry Pullinger***

A Video message to members and activists.


***Royal Mail Pension Consultation***
For the latest information on the Royal Mail Pension Consultation, Click on the CWU-News picture above.

BT Smart Pensions: Inclusion from 1 Feb 2017

Most members of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) and BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS) who do not currently participate in Smart Pensions will be automatically enrolled into Smart by BT from 1st February 2017.


Pensions - Royal Mail’s Three Card Trick

Further to recent articles in the press concerning Royal Mail’s intention to close the Royal Mail Pension Plan from April 2018, this pamphlet is designed to alert CWU members to the implications of the closure of the Pension Plan and highlight the implications of the closure of the RMPP.



100% impartial free energy search engine has been set up specifically for trade union members, allowing you to compare the prices of all gas and electricity suppliers in the UK to find the very best deal for your home. You can compare by savings alone, C02...More>


Interested in becoming more involved in the Union


Firefighters 100 Lottery

Support the ‘Firefighters 100 Lottery’ which has recently been launched to help five key good causes. Every 50 pence from each ticket sold will go to their chosen causes.


Last year it came to our attention that there is no single place where individual annual leave entitlements are held in BT.  Therefore, there is no prompt from the Company when an individual’s annual leave entitlement increases in line with service. ..... More>

CWU Humanitarian Aid

Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA) is the union's national charity. It is supported by Royal Mail and BT as well as thousands of volunteers and donors who take part in a wide range of fundraising efforts to help vulnerable children in the UK, Ireland, Eastern Europe and beyond in war torn countries, orphanages or other places of need.

CWUHA on the CWU website. link>>

To make a one-off or regular donation. link>>

Are you facing an Informal or Formal Warning for Performance?

We would advise any member faced with an informal or formal performance procedure to... More>

Fact Finding Interviews and the Discipline Procedure

If you suddenly find yourself in a Fact Finding meeting with your or another manager then you almost certainly will not have been warned...... More>

Join Labour – build our victory together


CWU Harassment Helpline 24/7

Call 0800 107 1909

More Information available on http://www.cwu.org/ in the Members Area. Once you are logged in you can find the information under 'Harassment'.

United front by CWU as industrial relations outlook darkens in BT

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT June 18 2020

Unprecedented threats to job security and hard won terms and conditions across BT Group must be met with a steely and united show of resistance, branches representing members across the company have agreed.

With BT poised to embark on the widest-ranging transformation programme in its history – and the union already grappling with a growing list of potential flashpoints including, most immediately, the spectre of compulsory redundancies in the troubled Enterprise division – the CWU has resolved to prepare for battle in case negotiations fail to secure an acceptable way forward.

Amongst the many other vexed issues facing the CWU at a time when technological advance, including the march of artificial intelligence, is predicted to render the telecommunications industry virtually unrecognisable by the end of the decade are:

  • The ‘Better Workplace’ site rationalisation programme, under which BT aims to concentrate  its UK workforce into just 29 or 30 major locations nationwide over the next four years – a move which, if realised in its entirety, will result in the mass displacement of staff and a redeployment challenge on a scale that has never been seen before
  • BT Group’s shock decision  at the end of last month to attack redundancy and paid leaver terms by serving notice on the 2018 Pension Agreement  – a development  made all the more provocative by the timing of the announcement  which fell  on the eve of the first ever compulsory redundancy of  a  team member grade employee
  • The associated need to negotiate a new legally binding agreement on pensions – without which BT could, in theory, unilaterally walk away from the 2018 agreement with just 60 days notice once the notice period it has just invoked expires in a year’s time.
  • Unagreed changes to terms and conditions for new starters that have led to the lodging of a formal disagreement with BT Consumer
  • A myriad of grading and pay point disagreements across BT Group – with an especially large number of unresolved cases in Openreach

Addressing a specially convened online forum of all branches with members in BT on Tuesday, deputy general secretary Andy Kerr made no bones about the scale of the threat posed to members across the whole of BT Group.

With more CWU members in Enterprise facing compulsory redundancy in the coming months – and fears that hundreds of team member grade employees in Technology could potentially be left ‘stranded’ with no obvious redeployment avenues under that division’s own site rationalisation ambitions –  Andy stressed that the wider  ‘Better Workplace Programme’ is poised to make an already vexed situation exponentially worse.

So far, Technology is the only BT line of business to definitively declare its Better Workplace endgame. That involves the consolidation of nearly 400 sites into six ‘UK Hubs’ and seven ‘Specialist Buildings’ concentrating on a single function.  Chillingly, while the division’s 8,000 impacted employees (including managers) are currently based all over the UK, including Scotland, the northernmost ‘Hub’ that management is currently proposing on the mainland is in Manchester, the southernmost in London and the westernmost in Bristol.

“There’s no doubt that the Better Workplace Programme  is the single biggest issue facing us all,” Andy told the 100-plus reps participating in Tuesday’s video conference.

“So far we’ve only had indications from Enterprise and Technology as to where they are going. In the next few weeks we should be clearer about Openreach’s thinking but we still have no idea where Consumer is going on this – and we can’t second guess the overall scale of the challenge the Better Workplace Programme  will throw up until we have visibility of all the pieces of the jigsaw.

“The trouble is that there isn’t, it appears, a BT Group-wide master plan, apart from the aspiration to move to 29 or 30 major locations. Different lines of business seem to be doing their own thing, which raises huge questions over the redeployment opportunities that will be available for the large numbers of individuals who will be displaced by lines of business that are withdrawing fromparticular areas.

“Even where places have already been named as ‘major locations’ it would be premature to say that everyone working in those places will be secure, because the jobs and CFUs that are there today won’t necessarily be the same jobs and CFUs that will be there tomorrow – and the implications of that are truly massive.

“The truth is that there is absolutely no chance of BT being
able to carry out the Better Workplace Programme without the
threat of compulsory redundancies – even more so given the
apparent lack of co-ordination by different lines of business.”

Andy stressed it is essential that branches and members
understand that the seismic changes that are underway in
BT have potential ramifications for job security
across-the-board. He insisted there’s no place for                           
complacency, even a line of business like Openreach which
is currently still expanding employment numbers and recruiting   
heavily to meet challenging targets surrounding the national
rollout of high speed broadband.

“The truth is that there is absolutely no chance of BT being able to carry out the Better Workplace Programme without the threat of compulsory redundancies – even more so given the apparent lack of co-ordination by different lines of business.”

Andy stressed it is essential that branches and members understand that the seismic changes that are underway in BT have potential ramifications for job security across-the-board. He insisted there’s no place for complacency, even a line of business like Openreach which is currently still expanding employment numbers and recruiting heavily to meet challenging targets surrounding the national rollout of high speed broadband.

Pointing out that once the current Fibre Build programme peaks in around five years time, not only will the current massive investment start to tail off, but the number of engineers required to service a much more resilient fibre network will  begin to diminish.

“To date there’s certainly been a view taken by some people that compulsory redundancies in Enterprise have nothing to do with them because they aren’t affected and will be okay. Those people urgently now need to think again – because with the Better Workplace Programme, and the other changes underway at BT, the uncomfortable truth is that every branch in the country will soon be affected by issues that challenge long-held assumptions on job security,” he cautioned.

“This really is an issue that could potentially affect anyone anywhere.”


Twin-track union response

Following detailed debate as to how the CWU should respond to the unprecedented, multi-layered and inter-related challenges emerging in BT, the union’s BT committee has agreed to a twin-track approach, under which talks will take place with the company in an attempt to defuse the biggest threat to decades of industrial peace since privatisation.

Simultaneously, however, the union will be launching a campaign to explain to members what is at stake – and the reasons why the CWU needs to be ready to stand firm in defence of job security if agreement cannot be reached on an acceptable way forward that meets the needs of both the business and

Andy explains: “We will try to negotiate a way through the issues that are affecting us – our members would expect nothing less– but people need to understand that these talks will not be easy or straightforward by any stretch of the imagination.

“We’ve already given the company every opportunity to see sense and change its position on the compulsory redundancies taking place in Enterprise – time and again proving that the surplus could be addressed in a different way, and saving a significant number of job in the process – but at this point in time they are not responding in the right manner.

“This is the start of a journey for us, and now is the time for us to have an open and honest discussion with each other,” Andy concludes.

“I need to be clear to everyone that if we get to a position where the talks fail, and there’s no way through to an agreement with the company, we will have no option but to ballot for industrial action.”

Forum soundbites…

Bill Dixon, South London, Surrey & North Hampshire Branch:

“Some people in some parts of BT don’t know what’s happening, but others absolutely do know because their jobs are on the line. We need to move forward and we need to move forward united.”

Simon Edwards, Mid Wales, the Marches & North Staffs Branch:

“BT’s record over the last 12 months has been one of disengagement with us. We’ve seen BTFS, BT Fleet and we’ve had a registered disagreement on compulsory redundancy. We’ve got more and more managers in HR, ER and senior roles who’ve never worked with unions before and seemingly don’t want to start now. The Better Workplace programme is a big issue for our branch as Technology has announced that Oswestry is not one of the future sites. There’s going to be huge tranches of the country that will lose good employment.”

Will Murray, Greater London Combined:

“BT has manoeuvred us past our red line which was industrial action after a single compulsory redundancy. From their perspective they’ve played a good strategic game, but we need to stand firm.”

Jacqui Stewart, Lancs & Cumbria Branch:

“Like other companies BT is clearly taking advantage of the Covid situation and is outsourcing more work than ever. They’re sneaking work into southern Ireland in Consumer, and there are indications they’re going to put more work out to India. I think we need to start shaming BT, because we’re going to have high unemployment in the UK and we need these jobs here.”

Tony Gilkes, Capital Branch:

“We’ve got to stick together. Technology’s the only line of business to have really declared on the Better Workplace Programme so far, but that’s going to be a huge issue, because when they devoid areas (of work) there won’t be other jobs opening up in other lines of business.”

Chris Power, South East Central Branch:

“At the moment my branch has had one member go on compulsory redundancy from Enterprise. There are six more scheduled to go at the end of August, we have seven IC3 meetings which we believe are going to give out redundancy notices in the next two weeks and we’ve got about 6 additional IC3 dates following that – so in total we’ve got about 20 who will be made redundant against their will in our branch alone. That’s 20 members who are going to be booted out the door for no other reason than the company’s whim. You have to wonder how many hundreds, if not thousands, more of our members are going to be made redundant in the coming months.”

George Kneeshaw, Central Counties & Thames Valley Branch:

“Negotiating has served us well in the past, and our members have been used to us delivering a pretty good agenda  across the piece for a very long time now, but we do now seem to  be at a point where that is not working for us anymore and compulsory redundancies are the key evidence of  that.”

Pauline Rourke, Edinburgh, Dundee & Borders Branch:

“We have to reaffirm to our members that it is the company that is letting them down. We have to get the members on board, trust them and take a leap of faith.”

Jeffrey Till, Greater London Combined :

“We can’t get them to stick to the agreements we already have, so how confident can we be that we can sit down and negotiate an agreement with them that  they will abide by?   It honestly does appear that they are riding completely roughshod over us.”

John Turnbull, Mid Wales, the Marches & North Staffs Branch:

I’m really worried about  the future of every site I speak about . I think we’re led by donkeys who have no idea what they’re doing – moving away from sites in Shropshire costing £14 a square metre to shiny new offices in places like Birmingham where it’s £300 a square metre. You wouldn’t want these people to be running your family budget, let alone a multi-million pound blue chip company!

No-one should feel safe any longer, working for a leadership like this – and I think we need to start pushing back a lot harder than we have been.”

Ian Lawrie, Scotland No.1 Branch

“I refer to the Better Workplace Programme the ‘postcode lottery’.  In Technology nothing north of Manchester has been announced and, from a Scotland point of view, that’s astonishing. We have desk-based Technology members in Edinburgh and the question they’re asking at the moment is what are our prospects?”

Dave Kauffman, South East Central Branch:

“Everybody’s got to understand that everyone will be affected by the changes that are coming. This isn’t just about the compulsory redundancies our branch has been facing  – it’s also about a wider  attack on terms & conditions.”

Angela Teeling, Greater Mersey Branch

“We’re all in agreement that enough  is enough and that we want to campaign. Let’s not waste any more time just talking about it – we need to move on to the next steps!”

Anger as BT Consumer embarks on career progression ‘road to nowhere’

BT June 22 2020
The CWU has responded furiously to the roll-out of a new operating model in BT Consumer that will slash opportunities for offline work and effectively kibosh non-managerial promotion chances in the Service operation.

Despite appeals for a pause for thought by the union on changes that will have profound ramifications for members across Service, this morning the business has briefed employees it is pressing on regardless with a radical shakeup that cut 300 offline roles in Billing and Tech.

There are currently 62 people doing a TM2 or equivalent role with offline content in Billing and 360 in Tech. Under BT’s plans this ‘Level 2’ work will be eradicated entirely in Billing and reduced by two thirds to just 120 full-time equivalent posts in Tech – with all those displaced being moved to inbound ‘Level 1’ call work. That process will commence this week.

Moreover, in Tech all the remaining ‘Level 2’ work will be moved to just two sites – Gosforth and Cardiff – with 60 FTE posts remaining on each site. In those two sites there will be a selection process with all TM2 or equivalent grades who have previously undertaken Tech offline in scope.

Full details of the changes are detailed in Consumer Members’ Bulletin No.121/2020 which was emailed to members this morning – but the CWU has already made clear its strong opposition to the changes.

Pointing out that the new operating model spells a career progression “road to nowhere” across Service, CWU national officer for Consumer Nigel Cotgrove explains: “Removing all offline work in Billing and concentrating the work on only two sites in Tech means that non-management promotion opportunities for TM1 grades will mostly disappear. “The changes therefore deal a massive blow to those who want to make a career in BT. While we understand the need for offline roles may be falling, the CWU has made it very clear indeed to management that we believe the roles should be spread over as many sites as possible.

“Less than a year ago Consumer promised to build non-managerial career paths and to spread higher graded posts on as many sites as possible – yet now BT has reneged on this commitment in Billing and Tech and this will leave the vast majority of members with little or no future career options on Consumer. We don’t yet know what will happen in Connections and Mobile but we fear this approach will be repeated.”

Nigel continues: “These unwelcome developments follow other bleak news from BT since the COVID-19 outbreak began, including attacks on redundancy terms; compulsory redundancies in Enterprise; unagreed TM1 grading in Connections and cuts to salary and allowances for all new hires in Consumer. On top of that there’s the so-called ‘Better Workplace Programme’ which is designed to close sites.”

Nigel concludes: “There’s never been a more important time to be in the CWU. We will all need to stand together in order to fight for job security, defend terms & conditions and develop proper career paths.”


‘No-one safe from compulsory redundancy’ as Openreach attacks desk based roles, warns CWU

Openreach June 23 2020

The latest manifestation of the belligerent new management approach sweeping across BT Group has prompted CWU warnings of a looming bloodbath of desk-based members in Openreach.

Hot on the heels of compulsory redundancies  in Enterprise, a site rationalisation programme in Technology that looks set to displace hundreds with no obvious potential of redeployment and yesterday’s brutal attack on offline work in Consumer (see story here), today’s announcement  by Openreach of a new  ‘location strategy’ unleashes a full-frontal assault on the division’s desk-based workers nationwide.

Under the plan, which has been presented to the CWU as a fait accompli, without consultation, the desk-based work that is predominantly conducted in over 30 ‘Centres of Excellence’ across the country will be concentrated into just nine locations – most of which will be beyond reasonable travel for displaced members of staff. In addition several hundred work from other locations, in line with previous agreements with the CWU, and these individuals are also now being told that cannot continue,

“Be in no doubt; the scale of this plan will mean that members in all locations will be under threat of compulsory redundancy – and Openreach’s own FAQ’s confirm that,” stresses CWU assistant secretary Davie Bowman.

Pointing out that even the concentration of the work into the current 30-plus locations had been hugely problematic when it was instituted five years ago, the union’s national officer for Openreach continues: “Many will recall the debacle of the ‘Working Together’programme –  itself driven by dogma, not by pragmatism – that resulted in the setting up the Centres of Excellence after difficult and protracted negotiations, with those not able to travel also being catered for.

“ These new plans reduce that footprint from 30-plus to just nine locations – Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Ipswich, Leeds, Liverpool and Judd Street in London – with the majority of those displaced, we believe, unable to relocate to those locations based on any definition of ‘reasonable travel’.

“Don’t be fooled if you currently work in one of the named locations, because the function you currently carry out may not be planned to be in that location going forward.

“Similarly, members should not be lulled into a false sense of security by Openreach’s talk of a five-year ‘roadmap’ to the new location strategy. Somewhere will be the first to close, and anyone who happens to be normally based in that building will be affected much sooner.

Davie stresses: “What we’re experiencing right now is the same dogmatic attitude  which drove the Working Together fiasco, only worse, because it stems from the same fundamentalist and inflexible view as to  how desk-based work should be carried out.

“The CWU absolutely recognises that transformation is here to stay – and that automation and artificial intelligence will change how roles look and feel – but having everyone in such few locations does not assist that.”

Abject betrayal of key workers and UK Plc

Pointing out that the scrapping of more than two thirds of the current Centres of Excellence flies in the face of the core tenet of the hard-negotiated Working Together agreement with  Openreach – namely that those unable to travel to new locations would have their current work brought to them – Davie highlighted the added irony of the company taking its current stance in a period of COVID-19-enforced homeworking

“During the last three months almost of all of the circa 7,000 CWU represented grade employees in the desk-based roles affected by this location strategy  have been working from home – carrying out ‘essential work’  as ‘key workers’ – supporting their field colleagues in keeping the country connected,” he explains.

“This has been a lifeline across the whole of society throughout the pandemic, yet these same workers are now effectively being told that their efforts are no longer valued, their labours are no longer treasured and that their future is wholly uncertain.

“After a period of successful mass homeworking the needlessness of the company casting doubts over the future employment of those who cannot travel to new centralised locations is doubly exposed – even more so given Openreach CEO Clive Selley’s own statements in media interviews on the impact of coronavirus on working practices,” Davie continues.

“On April 8 Mr Selley was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying he thought the experience would ‘drive a level of permanent change’. In fact he went on to say that he ‘struggled to imagine that we will all get back on the 6.30am to Charing Cross each day’ continuing: ‘Maybe we won’t work from home all the time, but perhaps we will for part of the week. It will make people think about being more flexible. I am sure it will drive change in business ethics that will be long-lasting. The priority is not optimising profit, it is doing the right thing by the nation and your employees. These are higher motivations than making money.”

Davie adds: “It’s hard to square that statement with the implications of Openreach’s inflexibility over anyone conducting desk-based work having  to travel to one of nine locations.

“And when you consider that  desk=based roles are also being attacked on the grading front – something that is reflected in the choice of locations where they will need to bring in  new recruits on new contracts and different pay points – it’s hard to see any high-minded aspirations to “do the right thing for the nation” in Openreach’s current actions.

“In practice, the agenda that Openreach seems set on pursing is one of displacing a substantial  number of loyal employees who are helping to build the UK’s fibre network for the future – and either replacing them on the cheap with a new generation of UK workers on poorer terms and conditions,  or potentially transferring the work offshore.

“How’s that for corporate social responsibility when it’s becoming abundantly clear that the UK economy will need every decent job that can possibly survive the coronavirus pandemic!”

Davie concludes: “Right across BT attacks are taking place on pay, grading, resourcing and now locations – tellingly at a time when the business is also moving to attack redundancy terms.

“Members across BT Group should be aware that no-one is safe, regardless of their role, because the attitude of their employer has fundamentally changed.

“Compulsory redundancy should never be an inevitability based on location. This is a cold business choice that the company has taken and it must and will be resisted by the CWU with all the effort and resources this will take.”

#vid_14 #vid_14

3 x £50 Lucky Draw must be won

Closing Date is Tuesday 1st September

Dear Meridian Branch Member,

Moving forward with the Count Me In! campaign we are asking all members of our Branch to let us know if the details we hold on record are correct.

Please see below the information we require confirmation of: this needs to be sent to the following email address membershipupdate2020@gmail.com

Home Address

Workplace & job function (Desk Based, Home Parker or Yard Parker)

Personal & Work Email

Personal Mobile & Work Email (if applicable)

Your OUC

We will be holding a prize draw for 3 winners, each winner will receive a £50 voucher. To be entered into the draw you will need to reply with the details as requested; winners will be drawn at random from these replies.

We appreciate this is short notice but we need this information by Tuesday 1st September 2020.

Please also see our Facebook, Twitter & Web Site, details at the top of this letter. We have also set up a Meridian WhatsApp group, you can join this by sending your Name, Line of Business and where you work to 0795 6948674 (please save this number to your contacts).

It is extremely important we have our branch membership details up to date as it may be even more relevant moving forward with our campaign and future changes in all lines of business.

Thank you for your help.

Dave Booker - Meridian Branch Secretary

Mail: membershipupdate2020@gmail.com