back to article Openreach out: UK union asks all of its members to back disgruntled cable engineers

It’s hard to pull solidarity out of the bag when everyone’s having a tough January but that’s what the General Secretary for the Communication Workers Union has asked the wider org to do for a small band of Openreach project engineers poised to vote on strike action. The dispute has arisen in a corner of BT’s infrastructure …

  1. WonkoTheSane

    Perfect timing!

    100 points to CWU for sticking up for their members.

    Minus 90 points for calling a strike just as Openreach turn up to FTTP my whole home town!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perfect timing!

      Sorry, I just had to downvote you - even though I suspect your comment was made partly in jest.

      I'm sure you'll still get FTTP - it might happen before the strike, or it might get delayed by it. Around here, there's no sign of it, say take the downvote as partly from jealousy.

      But more seriously. Unfortunately, in situations like this, customers suffer collateral damage. It's unavoidable if things have got so bad as to trigger strikes. What the CWU are doing is protecting the whole workforce from a divide and conquer approach from manglement. It's a classic ploy - manglement promise to keep current employees as they are in the hope that they won't show solidarity with any new ones coming in and being immediately dumped on. But what usually happens is that as time goes on, manglement find ever more creative ways to nibble away at those promises - safe in the knowledge that their numbers are dropping (every time one leaves, he/she is replaced with someone on inferior terms), and that the ones on inferior terms won't be all that keen to show solidarity because a) it wasn't shown the other way around, b) they are jealous of the better T&Cs, and c) if they are on a lot less money then it's a significantly larger loss to them to walk out.

      As it happens, I've been on the receiving end of this - though I didn't know it at the time. I had been made redundant, contribution based allowances had run out, there was a job locally - "not brilliant" pay, but it sounded interesting and it was there.

      After I'd been there a few months, it was announced that our department was moving - from the "executive agency" we currently worked in to a main government department. As it happened, it was only a few years previously that the executive agency had split away from the main department pay bands - to allow "flexibility in matching industry pay rates". As such, we were expecting the same grade mapping to be used as when they split.

      Ah no, it turns out that "matching industry" really meant paying whatever a sucker will work for - in my case, it was a matter of "need job, this is job, the pay is rubbish but it's better than the SFA I'm on now" When it came to grade assignments, all of us new starts would have got a raise if they'd simply reversed the mapping used a few years earlier. So magically, it was decided that the posts we were in, were now a full pay band lower than they had been 3 years earlier. So we got shafted and are now a full pay extra pay band behind our more senior colleagues. Our senior colleagues were a band higher than we are now, when they were in these posts - doing exactly the same work, with exactly the same responsibilities, etc.

      So yes, it can be a lucrative thing to split new starts into a different structure - so you can pay them less without there being any chance to point out that "hang on, someone at grade X should be paid Y" if you kept the single structure.

      For good measure, our department now has no posts in one pay band. While technically it's possible to advance 2 pay bands, the problem is that without that intermediate stepping stone it's generally impossible to demonstrate the skills and experience needed for that 2 bands up post. So it probably means that most of us will have to move to a different department if we want any promotion. No, I'm not bitter at all <he says through gritted teeth>. I think you can guess which icon I'd be using if it were possible to choose one while posting anon.

  2. Securitymoose

    Unbelievable in these troubled times when people are losing jobs and struggling to survive!

    Have we time-slipped back to the Seventies?

    I did dedicate my latest satire to "2020, the year that Time went forwards and backwards simultaneously," I suppose.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The CWU is doing well fighting for the 1000's of people in BT who have already been dismissed in the last 3 months. CWU has no teeth.

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