Triple boost for ex-BT IT Services members

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Former ITS employees – including ex-Computacenter members – who were TUPE’d into BT Business & Public Sector in 2016 have now received full collective bargaining rights, a 3 per cent pay rise and a pledge that the CWU will be fully consulted on a new grading structure designed to iron out a raft of unfair anomalies.

The breakthrough follows the successful conclusion of protracted and often difficult talks that began in 2016 when, following the TUPE, the CWU was informed that the former ITS employees would not be covered by a union recognition agreement – even though the CWU formerly had recognition in Computacenter

In a further blow, the union was advised that not only would ITS’s so called ‘Hendrix’ grading system continue to be used post-TUPE – rather than the bulk of ITS staff who’d previously been on that system being mapped onto the NewGRID grading structure – but that for the first time Hendrix and other disadvantageous former ITS protocols concerning pay would apply to Computacenter members.

Assistant secretary Allan Eldred explains: “Ironically the Hendrix grading system had never been applied to our ex-Computacenter members while they were in ITS – in fact they were specifically ring-fenced and excluded from it. Perversely it was BT B&PS management or somebody working on its behalf who decided ex-Computacenter people would have Hendrix applied to them after their transfer to B&PS.

“That has caused all sorts of problems – not least in the area of pay – because, since TUPE, some of our ex–Computacenter members have had performance related pay applied to them for the first time, and others have had no pay rise at all because of the application of another disadvantageous former ITS policy from which they’d always been previously excluded.”

The 2018 pay deal that has now been concluded, however, gives all former ITS employees a 3 per cent pay rise  – a particular boost to those ITS employees who hadn’t previously worked for Computacenter because they had always previously been subjected to performance related pay.

“There are, however, remaining issues,” Allan stresses. “The fact that the 3 per cent increase was not consolidated for our ex-Computacenter members is wrong and the shambles around pay in 2017 remains a point of friction between the company and CWU members. The union has made its position on both these things absolutely clear.

“As for the future, however, we’ve effectively brought all former ITS employees into the normal way we deal with pay in BT, rather than performance related rises effectively being imposed at the whim of their managers.

“Taken alongside recognition and the commitment to bring all former ITS staff into a single grading system, which will be based on NewGRID, we’ve finally achieved much of what we’ve been pressing for since the 2016 TUPE.”

Plans are now underway to bring all of the 560 former ITS staff who were not previously covered by a union recognition agreement into CWU membership.

“The old adage that there’s ‘strength in numbers’ couldn’t be more pertinent given the ham-fisted way our ex-Computacenter members have been treated since being TUPE’d back into BT,” Allan concludes.

“While it mercifully now appears that we’re entering a new and better chapter, the best guarantor of decent treatment in the workplace remains what it always was – namely workers presenting a united front behind a recognised trade union.”