Fleet Services - Contact Eric Brown

BT Fleet sale – calling ALL BT branches – National Forum Next Thursday

Telecoms & Financial Services 

All our union’s BT branches are being urged to send delegates down to CWU headquarters next week for a crucial update on the controversial outsourcing of our BT Fleet members to the Aurelius company.

In a letter to branches this morning, deputy general secretary Andy Kerr made absolutely clear that the union “does not support” this decision by BT who have, he states: “Totally disregarded their loyal and dedicated BT Fleet Solutions employees – some of whom have given decades of service to the business.”

The outsourcing announcement is “a disgrace and those responsible should be ashamed as their decision has caused considerable stress and anguish to our members,” he adds.

Andy is calling all branches with BT members, “particularly those with Fleet members” to send at least one representative down to Wimbledon next Thursday for an official Branch Forum, at which the union leadership will explain the CWU’s Four-Point Plan of Demands.

  • A guarantee that all current contractual terms are transferred to the new company
     
  • Confirmation of what non-contractual terms transfer and agree where possible transition arrangement for those that are not able to transfer e.g. Broadband and BT Vision
  • An agreement on pension arrangements for all employees whether they are members of the BTRSS, BT Hybrid Scheme or Section A members of the BTPS
     
  • A full CWU recognition agreement with the new company which will ensure that we have collective negotiating rights for all of the above including future pay, terms and conditions and representation in the workplace

“Please ensure that your branch is represented at next Thursday’s meeting – we have made our anger quite clear to the company and we have insisted on top-level talks with them to make sure that these essential demands are met,” Andy explains.

“Next Thursday, we want at least one representative from every branch to hear the very latest update, hear our plan to defend these hard-working, dedicated and loyal members, and also to give us some feedback from your own branch membership.

“See you next Thursday.”

Sale of BT Fleet Ltd to Aurelius

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT Fleet As you now will be aware BT has agreed the sale of BT Fleet Ltd to Aurelius with the transaction due to complete on 1st September 2019.

BT has stated that the sale forms part of its ongoing transformation strategy to “focus on converged connectivity and services” – namely full fibre and 5G.   BT Fleet management is arguing that a standalone business will have more control over how it can invest its profits in key areas such as “HGVs, accident management and vehicle funding”. Hence the sale to Aurelius who claim to specialise in acquiring “non-core” divisions of companies in need of operational support to transform them into standalone, sustainable organisations.

The CWU does not support the sale.  We believe that BT could find other ways to free up resources so it could invest in Fleet as well as fibre and 5G which were not fully considered.  Regrettably, however, it is extremely unlikely that we are going to be able to stop this sale.

It should also be noted that the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) does not apply in this case as it is a “Share Purchase” sale not covered by the legislation. As BT Fleet Ltd is being sold as a legal entity then the employment contracts and contractual benefits will remain in place.

The CWU will be having discussions with BT over the coming days to ensure we reach a steadfast commitment to a full recognition agreement with the new company.   This will ensure we have full collective negotiation rights about future pay and working conditions. Although we have been informed by BT that there are no contractual changes, some non-contractual benefits may change given that they will separate away from BT. We will also be pressing BT on these issues and confirming the pension arrangements to be adopted by the new company and we will keep you appraised of our progress.

For information, I have attached to this letter copies of the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs), a crib sheet and a slide presentation which BT will be using when dealing with members’ queries and at meetings.

This is obviously a stressful time for our members and I would encourage all branches with BT Fleet members to visit the affected workplaces within your area as soon as possible. We will keep both branches and members updated as the situation develops but in the meantime if   members have any questions that their local branch cannot answer then please email:  btfleet@cwu.org

BT terms secured as Fleet TUPE triggers redundancies

BT 

Close tabs are being kept on an unfolding redundancy situation in BT Fleet that stems from the loss of a contract with Network Rail.

While the expiry of the Network Rail vehicle serving contract has had a small but manageable impact on work volumes across the garage network, the brunt of the contract loss is being felt in Milton Keynes where 20 CWU-represented grade employees currently administering the contract are based at Network Rail’s headquarters.

On account of a Network Rail re-tendering exercise, their work is moving from BT Fleet to Hitachi Capital, which intends to host the new admin operation in Trowbridge – 100 miles from where the work is currently conducted in Milton Keynes.

Assistant secretary Brendan O’Brien explains: “Although this is technically a TUPE situation, the ‘economic, technical and organisational’ reasons provided by the company at the start of the TUPE consultation means this is effectively a redundancy situation from day one for anyone who isn’t prepared to move with their work.

“At present just one person has expressed interest in doing so, with a couple more still pondering their options – but that means the rest of the group are facing redundancy when the TUPE becomes effective on April 1.

“From the outset the CWU has argued strenuously that BT redundancy terms should apply, and that is what we’ve achieved, even though they are effectively going to be made redundant as Hitachi Capital employees.”

In order to ensure the members’ rights are respected in full, the union’s own legal firm, Unionline, will be holding one-to-one sessions for all those affected today (Tuesday).

Brendan concludes: “This is obviously a sad and unwanted outcome for all those affected – but this has been a long time coming, as it is now more than a year since it became apparent that the Network Rail contract would not be renewed. The question our members had throughout was ‘where it would go?’

“The vehicle maintenance work has gradually migrated elsewhere, and Admin is the last bit of the contract to go, after a couple of three month extensions that were only ever going to be temporary.

“In a difficult situation the CWU has done all it can to support the members affected, with the Central Counties & Thames Valley Branch and the BT Fleet national team working intensively with our comrades in Milton Keynes to secure the best possible outcome.”