back to article Day 5 of Openreach strikes: No use of tech company toilets. No water. Fresh dates outlined

Openreach’s Project Repayment Engineers who are already on the picket line to protest over changes in the grading structure that they say devalues their role, are naming five more strike dates. Conflict between Openreach and their RPEs, workers who are used to divert copper and fibre cables to make way for new property …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Company wide transformation...Jettisonng thousands of staff...Closing real estate. Checks date. Yes, 21st century. Nothing changes.

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      Close your eyes and mentally replace each instance of "Openreach" with "IBM".

      Not only does it all still fit very nicely, it paints the path ahead pretty clearly as well.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Openreach won't notice until they find other outfits have parked tanks on their lawn and poking 75mm sized holes in the front window

      As a virtualy monopoly acvross most fo the UK "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the PHONE company"

      if BT/Openreach had been broken up the way New Zealand did to TCNZ-Spark/Choris when offered an opportunity ("Split the companies or no broadband funding for YOU!") then this mess wouldn't be continuing

      Instead Starlink is going to eat BT's lunch and that will be IN SPITE of it not getting rural broadband funding thanks to entrenched politics. By the time they react it will be too late

  2. Wolfclaw

    Let me correct this statement..

    "We want to reassure customers that this action won't impact the shit quality of the service we provide, or affect our large ongoing cost cutting in recruitment, training and a late Full Fibre broadband network for the UK, while we continue to take the piss out of 3rd party ISPs and profits are secure for investors."

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "while we continue to take the piss out of 3rd party ISPs and profits are secure for investors"

      I'm VERY surprised that a number of ISPs haven't approached Starlink to setup as VISPs under that umbrella

      1. Evilgoat76

        Starlink don't anyone on their platform that isn't them. They also categorically don't want any business customers. We were selected because of our use profile initially (Event work) received the kit a month back and we're told no business use and stay in yer cell. Not really a threat to BT YET

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          They also categorically don't want any business customers.

          They categorically do. Just not yet.

          A good chunk of their business (by revenue) will be cruise ships (and any other shipping) as well as in-flight internet access for aircraft. They will be able to charge significant sums of money for the likes of P&O Cruise and Carnival to stick Starlink antennae up on the comms mast and provide sensible internet to cruisers, for an order of magnitude less than the competitors are charging.

          But that relies on inter-sat links to relay signals between satellites where the satellite that can see the mid-ocean ship doesn't have line-of-sight to a ground station. The latest launch had some satellites with inter-sat links but the majority launched so far don't.

          Whether they'll deign to deal with Service Providers remains to be seen though. I could point to rural business parks (often diversified farmyards with nice barn conversions) who struggle to get sensible speeds. The sensible thing would be to let local MSPs install an antennae, assign a block of IPs and let them wire in the various units. But if StarLink follows the Tesla way of dealing direct with customers they'll want each unit to have a dedicated dish. One account/IP per station, no room for WISPS to use it as a secondary transit link(1) or MSPs to resell it into multi-tenant premises.

          (1) Other than using it as a carrier to push traffic through a tunnel to a router in a DC where you can BGP it out from your own IP block, which would only require the one Starlink-issued IP.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Seemingly wants to become a global tech powerhouse

    And I seem to remember what happened the last time they tried that.

    They're a boring regulated utility business with some limited prospect of increasing modest but predictable margins with appropriate investment. If they extract money from the existing business to pursue high-growth fantasies, they'll be left with a boring regulated utility business with a certain prospect of reducing margins.

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    BT share price

    Yes, but yesterday BT shares closed at 134.8p/share and are now trading (at 14:18 UK time) at around 142p/share.

    I have no idea what is going on, and will probably never understand the stock exchange. (Should I buy GameStop shares?)

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: BT share price

      "Should I buy GameStop shares?"

      Put a six month x axis on this: https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/gme and get your diamond hands on 8) Oh, and wish you'd bought lots a few months back.

    2. James Anderson

      Re: BT share price

      Dog whistle phrase for city plonkers is “closing real estate”.

      They plan to sell of all there buildings and offices while the UK property market is overheated.

      They will have to sack the people who work in those buildings, and lose any customers who expected some sort of service. But by then the financial wizards will have pocketed the cash and unloaded the shares into your granny’s ISO.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A manager from Openreach is present at each of the sites to monitor what the striking workers are doing. "They've not let us use the toilets, we have to use the public toilets at King's Cross," said one striker outside of London HQ.

    He said the company had also refused requests for a glass of water. "They said it's BT water."

    Without wishing to show any lack of sympathy for the strikers in terms of their dispute... they're on strike. Why would they expect to have access to the premises? That would entail crossing the picket (albeit not to work). If you want to picket a premises you have to be broadly self-sufficient. They management aren't going to come out with coffee and sandwiches at half-time.

    The standard of striking seems to have diminished since the 1970s...

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Covid restrictions on access?

      I don't know about allowing strikers access to facilities such as toilets and drinking water, but there may also be issues concerning Covid-19 restrictions with which BT has to comply that make granting access to the site a bit tricky. I admit, though, that a statement from BT management could be helpful.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        Re: Covid restrictions on access?

        I think there was a pretty clear statement from BT management: piss off and piss somewhere else!

    2. Fred Dibnah

      They could form a huddle by the wall of the building and urinate against it in turn.

      1. John Arthur

        You have just reminded me of my one and only visit to The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds many years ago. One of the smallest pubs in the UK it had room for maybe half a dozen customers. No space for toilets. There was a BT cabinet a few yards down the road with enough space behind it for one or two people to stand. I imagine the fault rate there was a bit higher than average. The small certainly was!

    3. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Yeah, I grew up thinking strikes were done by desperate working class people who were dying at work.

      Nowadays, it mostly seems to be TFL drivers earning £40-60kpa on strike for the most stupid reasons, they put an absurd PR spin on everything.

      Just to recap, the staff on the picket line haven't been affected by the proposed changes and earn £35-45kpa? But how do they afford food on such trivial wages?

      Have they actually met poor people before?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They're not striking because *their* conditions are being degraded, they're striking because *their colleagues'* conditions are being degraded (aka altruism).

  6. jonathan keith Silver badge

    I think I've identified the root cause of the problem...

    Dave Bowman, CWU national officer for Openreach, said the "company seems unwilling to reconsider its position on this issue."

    Not surprising, when Openreach's only possible response under the circumstances is "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've no time for people striking when they're on a good wage in a secure (as stated) job.

    This new policy affects new hires. Guess what? That's how business works - contracts and terms of employment.

    People who strike without good reason (you're making us all redundant / paying us less than the living wage) need to get a sense of perspective and grow up.

    Of course, within all this I'm sure their union isn't paying fat salaries to their chair / sec etc and their expenses don't seem at all out of proportion.....

    1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      I'm half wondering if the union is striking because of loss of future earnings. Usually the union takes a scaled % of the employee salary, so any changes to future staff earnings would have a direct effect on the union accounts and beer fund.

      Not saying that is what's happening, but if they're facing a 2-3% annual cut to the biscuit tin that would also explain their interest in striking.

      Would make far more sense than TFLs stupid reasons. Last three strikes in my area: 1) to support a tube driver who turned up to work and failed a drug test, 2) to support a driver who drove through 3 red lights and was demoted to a desk job, and (the latest) 3) due to covid they can't meet at the depot anymore - so they striked because they had to start shift at the bus stop instead (they end up driving for 10-15 minutes longer per day). Boo hoo.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      If new hires with no experience are paid half the money then it becomes attractive to find excuses to outplace the workers who do the job efficiently but cost more, and only keep the more useless but cheaper new-terms recruits. As with other terrible things across the universe which act against everything we believe in, this management must be fought, and the time is now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This new policy affects new hires. Guess what? That's how business works - contracts and terms of employment."

      Fundamental tennet of British employment law - you do the same job, you get the same pay (with some adjustments for experience)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IANAL - but not true. A business can't pay differently on the basis of a protected characteristic, but beyond that all bets are off...

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Facepalm

          So that is why women are paid less than men?

          Sex is not a protected characteristic?

  8. Abominator

    This is why I have ordered StarLink. UK telecoms is stuck in the 70's.

  9. teebie

    "The attempt to undermine our dispute with false numbers is embarrassing..."

    Ouch, that reply would have been much more convincing if it had numbers in it.

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