Prospect survey flags members' fears over BT pay and staffing shake-up

Prospect survey flags members' fears over BT pay and staffing shake-up

Prospect has called on BT to pause until January any more changes to pay, job structures and terms and conditions, to allow further talks with the union about the so-called People Framework.

Delegate vote at BT conference, nottingham, 17 May 2018. Photo by John Birdsall

The union also wants the issues escalated to a higher level within the company as there appears to be very little scope for movement under the current circumstances.

National secretary Noel McClean wrote to the company after Prospect members made clear in a snap union survey that new changes to pay are unacceptable. Two-thirds of members responded, and 97% supported Prospect’s view that key areas must be improved.

McClean said: “Too many of our members feel that change is being done to them, rather than with them, with choices reduced to narrow, unpalatable decisions. This is unacceptable. 

“BT needs to listen to us and provide the time and space to resolve outstanding issues.”

Pay clarity was a concern for 81% of respondents to the snap survey, and 80% highlighted the importance of fair arrangements to protect anyone whose current salary is above the range for any new role they may be moved to.

The letter to BT said while the union understands the need for change, consent from those affected is vital for it to succeed.

McClean said while some progress had been made since talks began, more is needed before the union can recommend acceptance in a ballot of members on a proposed agreement.

Meanwhile members and reps were having to react to changes being rolled out on a day to day basis causing great anxiety. “Some members in the more advanced units either are, or shortly will be, faced with unpalatable decisions with implications for their careers for years to come. This needs to stop until we have more talks.”

The key sticking points are:

  • Greater transparency is needed to ensure members feel their job has been evaluated correctly and they are paid fairly.
  • Proposed salary ranges are far too broad and fail to give a clear sense of salary progression through a career.
  • Workers above a new salary range should not have to choose between a pay cut or leaving the company.

Concessions secured by Prospect so far relate to:

  • More transparency than previously on offer – following union pressure, BT has now published pay ranges in all areas except sales.
  • Pay ranges – BT has moved pay ranges after Prospect argued that the bottom and top of ranges were too low – but not far enough.
  • Existing terms and conditions will be maintained for hours, annual leave and sick pay for those transitioning to the People Framework.

Photo by John Birdsall shows this year's Prospect BT conference, where delegates voted to press for the protection of the pay, terms and conditions of anyone adversely affected by the People Framework changes