Lack of clarity on BT changes causing “stress and anxiety”


Lack of clarity on BT changes causing “stress and anxiety”

Prospect has warned that BT is creating “a perfect storm of stress and anxiety” among managers and professionals by rolling out a fundamental jobs restructure without having agreed the accompanying changes to pay, terms and conditions with the union.

In a letter to members this week, Prospect national secretary Philippa Childs reminded them that any change to their contracts of employment under the BT People Framework exercise has to be agreed, either individually or collectively, with the affected person.

Prospect is still actively negotiating with the company on the changes to pay and terms and conditions. However, at the same time BT is proceeding with the jobs restructure on a piecemeal basis within individual customer facing units, with Openreach one of the first to be affected.

So far the union has secured improved transition arrangements on car and bonus for members compared to how BT has dealt with these in the past, but “there are still some very fundamental issues to be addressed”, Childs said.

Her letter explained that consultation on restructuring of job families, while linked to the People Framework, is being dealt with separately in individual parts of the business. Locally elected Prospect industrial relations committees within each customer facing unit have the right to be “consulted” on this element.

Childs said: “Ideally negotiations relating to terms and conditions of service that sit alongside the career levels would have been completed before consultation commenced, so that members could make informed decisions about the future. But BT’s changes are so fundamental that it is taking much longer.

“We’ve made it clear to BT that by proceeding with restructuring ahead of any agreement on pay and terms and conditions they’ve created a perfect storm of stress and anxiety for managers and professionals.

“People are unsure whether they will have a role in the future shape of the organisation and uncertain about what terms and conditions will be associated with any roles that they are applying for or being offered.”

Childs added: “BT has agreed a timeline through to the second week of November to resolve the outstanding matters relating to terms and conditions. At this point Prospect will review the progress that has been made and consult with members on next steps.” 

Members can read the full letter, with more details, here.