BTFS pay deal heralds further key talks
Members at BTFS have voted by nearly four to one to accept a CWU-negotiated pay deal that paves the way for further negotiations on a raft of issues the union has long been seeking to address.
The complex agreement, which covers around 1,700 employees working at the in-house facilities services provider, secures guaranteed basic rate increases across the board, with additional raises to bring lower-paid staff up to the real Living Wage (as set by the Living Wage Foundation as opposed to the Government’s significantly lower re-branded minimum wage) – and for higher-graded employees a small element of performance related pay.
To be implemented in June salaries the deal represents a 2.42 per cent pay increase for the lowest paid staff – predominantly cleaners and security staff.
Crucially, annual leave entitlement rises to 22 days for all BTFS staff, while those already on 22 days will receive a £100 lump-sum cash payout.
Assistant secretary Sally Bridge, who led the union’s negotiating team, says: “It’s been a tough round of talks this year – with the CWU determined to not just secure a meaningful pay increase for all member but also a company commitment for serious reviews of the Security pay structure and pay progression arrangements across the company to ensure that employees can move from the minimum to the maximum of their pay band within a reasonable time frame – something which isn’t the case at present.
“Real progress has been made on all these issue and more. The important thing about this agreement is that there’s something for everyone, right across all the grades and the different functions of BTFS.
“Our arguments for an increase in annual leave entitlement for those on under 22 days a year – one of the important areas of improvement we’ve long sought, has borne fruit – and we’ve also secured an increase to the Ground Maintenance pay band.
“Additionally the company has agreed to immediately commence discussions following the ballot result to open discussions on the pay bands for engineering teams in the air conditioning, electrical, mechanical and multi-skilled areas – and all these things are happening as a direct consequence of the forceful line we took in the pay talks.”
The various facilities management functions conducted by BT’s wholly-owned BTFS subsidiary had previously been outsourced to external providers that eventually combined to form Monteray – but were brought back in-house just over four years ago following sustained representations by the union.
Since the union secured recognition in January 2015, the CWU has been working with the company on the myriad of terms and conditions that they inherited stemming from multiple TUPEs into Monteray.
Repeated CWU demands for terms and conditions within the subsidiary to be brought into line with those of BT itself have been knocked back by the company – so at this year’s CWU Annual Conference a revised approach was agreed which focuses on tackling anomalies within BTFS itself (as reported in the current issue of The Voice, page 12, which can be viewed here).
Sally concludes: “BTFS members’ strong support for this year’s pay deal places the CWU in a strong position to pursue that mandate – and that is exactly what we will be doing.”