Potential CWU/BT Dispute - Prospect Statement


Potential CWU/BT Dispute - Prospect Statement

We have had a great many enquiries to the union following today's press coverage of the potential BT/CWU industrial dispute.

In particular many members have enquired about the company's creation of a database of skills.

It is important to note that no industrial action is as yet taking place, and presumably will not take place for quite some time. No action can take place before a ballot has been concluded and notice given of the start of any action. As yet that ballot has not been announced - we are therefore some weeks from the start of any action and it is not a foregone conclusion that any action will take place.

We have said to BT that we would expect the company and the CWU to reach an accommodation over the maintenance of essential emergency services. That has been the practice in the past during a dispute, and would offer a greater level of assurance than trying to rely on the potentially outdated skills of Prospect members in such circumstances.

We have stressed to the company that asking Prospect members to cover for Team Members taking industrial action is not particularly practical.

It is our view that few members would in practice have the skills that would enable them, safely and efficiently, to undertake any great proportion of Team Member work. We have also stressed to BT that putting Prospect members into possible confrontation with CWU members could be very damaging for long-term workplace relationships. All disputes come to an end and it will be important, at the end of this dispute (if it takes place), that the company and its employees can move on without a legacy of bitterness and recrimination. BT has acknowledged that this is an important consideration.

Members should monitor the union's web site for up-dates. If you need individual advice, contact either your local Prospect representatives or the union's help desk.