The union’s Pay Team met with the company on 13 January in an effort to reopen negotiations and gain improvements to the proposed severance terms. We discussed various aspects of the proposals that would need to change before the union could be in a position to ballot you again. In particular we stressed to BT that the union could never agree a policy which gave complete discretion to BT in respect of when they chose to apply or amend the enhanced terms. Indeed, the Severance Terms policy, termed by the company as “Guiding Principles”, is currently written in such a way that it gives no contractual underpinning to the enhanced terms. Indeed, the legal advice the union has received states that a collective agreement on such a policy would simply enshrine the right of the company to exercise discretion.
In addition to changing the status of the policy we discussed a transition period to remove the current cliff edge of 1 June 2021. Notwithstanding this, the union is cognisant that some members may be better off under the new terms and we are not seeking to inhibit their ability to avail themselves of the new terms, in the event of any extension of the current terms.
We also raised the issue of the detriment facing members, not least those at risk of redundancy, who undertake an in-level career move. The union has made its position clear, in that it is unacceptable for members who face redundancy to be penalised by changes to their terms and conditions when they find a suitable alternative job at the same career level.
Finally, we have only been able to reopen negotiations with the company because of your strong support for the union’s position. Once again, on behalf of your elected BT Committee, I would like to thank you for that continued support.
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