August Briefing

6 August 2021
  • Return to the office latest
  • London moves and Technology reorganisation update
  • Prospect members survey coming soon

Members may recall our recent communication on BT’s plans to progressively reopen the office estate. Prospect had originally expressed concern at the company’s proposal to remove some of the control measures that have been in place during the pandemic. However, we were pleased to see BT accepting our arguments that Covid signage should remain and that social distancing be maintained. It was also reassuring to hear that staff would not be mandated to attend the office during the transition period, which is expected to last until September. At this point the union expect a further review to take place alongside consultations with Prospect on how the return might be managed during the autumn.

What we have all found over the past 18 months is that it’s impossible to forecast the course of the pandemic and make plans too far ahead. However, with widespread vaccination now having taken place there does seem to be more optimism that a return to normality is on the horizon. Our union safety reps (USRs) will be working closely with the company over the next few months to ensure that the return is managed safely and that where there are control measures in place they are being observed. Moreover, as the estate is progressively reopened and new buildings are launched the union will be monitoring that the Chief Executive’s commitment to put diversity, inclusion and sustainability at the heart of how the company operates is being turned into a reality.        

Better Workplace, Technology Units and Group Reorganisations

Although we are in the middle of the summer holiday period there are still some major changes taking place within BT. Firstly, the company are moving large numbers of staff into the new London building at 1 Braham. Secondly, Technology Units are undertaking a large-scale reorganisation, that has some cross-over with the London Better Workplace moves. Thirdly, there are also a number of members working in Group where reorganisation has coalesced with Better Workplace changes.

Currently, there are expression of interest windows open in which impacted members and those who are non-directable to their new location can apply for voluntary severance. The union has been supportive of this approach as it underpins our objective of allowing those who wish to leave to be able to whilst ensuring that those who wish to remain have a greater opportunity to do so.

Notwithstanding, our support for the above approach the union is concerned at the inference that the “best of both” choice of severance terms is time limited to the end of the window. Indeed, the union has made it clear to the company that we believe that in circumstances where members look for an alternative role, but are unsuccessful, then they should still be able to choose the pre-June EVR terms if they are a better option. Furthermore, we believe this to be a joint commitment in respect of collective consultations that began before 1st June and Prospect will ensure that this is upheld during the course of these reorganisations.   

The union are aware that some members who have been deemed to be directable to their new location have contested this assessment. If you believe the decision to make you directable is unfair and require assistance the union can provide you with a case handler to help you. If you require support or advice then please contact the Prospect Helpdesk at [email protected]

Member Survey Coming Soon

Prospect will shortly be launching its annual member survey in BT. The survey is vital in informing us of how members feel about working in BT. Furthermore, it is more important than ever that we gather the views of our members in this way, given how difficult it has been to meet in the workplace over the past 18 months. The survey will run throughout September and we will be publishing further details over the next few weeks.

Prospect represents over 151,000 working people across the UK. We focus on professionals, managers, technical experts and craftspeople working in a huge range of industries. To change your details, please call 0300 600 1878. If you have colleagues who are non-members, please encourage them to join Prospect too. People can join online at