Members may well be familiar with BT’s internal social media platform called Workplace. Indeed, this medium was used last week to announce topics as diverse as the Q3 results for BT, to providing initial feedback on the inaugural colleague board meeting from Philip Jansen. In respect of the first announcement it is clear that the results are poorer than expected and this has been reflected in a fall in the company’s share price. Furthermore, the company are facing a number of headwinds, including a £500 million bill as a result of the government’s decision on Huawei and a great deal of political pressure to accelerate the installation and provision of full-fibre broadband.
As an aside, the faltering share price is not only an ongoing concern for the BT board, but also for our members. They are not only invested in BT through the work they carry out for the company, but also by the shareholdings many of them have in the business, not least from participating in the BT Share Save schemes.
Last week also saw the colleague board share their views on their first meeting with BT and the agenda included the environment and sustainability, as well as the company’s Ambition 2030 program. We are sure employees will be looking forward to the formal output of the discussions, including next steps and actions to be taken forward to the next meeting. Notwithstanding this, it must be remembered that despite the colleague board being granted an audience with the Chief Executive, only Prospect are able to negotiate real changes on your behalf.
Follow us on Workplace
Members will know that Workplace is being heavily promoted in BT and in response to this, Prospect representatives set up a group for like-minded people. This was intended to be a forum to discuss the union, engage with members and non-members, discuss our role, and air topical issues of the day relating to the industry and issues affecting their own working environment. Members had in good faith embraced this notion of internal social media despite reservations on how their data might be used or shared more widely. On seeing numerous regional sites, local interest and specialised groups, Prospect’s BT committee decided to promote the Prospect site by utilising the facility to bulk add people using a number of techniques freely available to them on the site. BT subsequently decided that this was contrary to how they had envisaged their platform should be used and chose to remove more than 5,000 people added by this means despite the very high engagement levels from those reading the stories.
It is Prospect’s view that removing people in this way is counterproductive, unnecessary and seems contrary to the very notion of launching a social media platform in the first place. Furthermore, the company were not able to provide any evidence that the union had breached any policy governing the site. Therefore, Prospect look forward to reviewing the publication of any future policy or guidance that cover the issue of legitimately growing a Workplace site in light of recent events.
Finally, In the absence of any policy to the contrary your Prospect BT Committee are inviting members, who are already using workplace for their own legitimate business or leisure purposes, to follow the efforts of your representatives by logging in to Workplace and following our dedicated union pages. These can found by clicking the links below:
All BT people except Openreach: https://bt.workplace.com/groups/ProspectUnion/
All Openreach people: https://openreach.workplace.com/groups/1404567416378943/