BT People Framework Ballot

09 Jul 2019

Prospect national secretary Noel McClean sets out why BT committee reps are encouraging members to vote to accept the company’s revised offer on its People Framework, future pay management and union recognition.

A consultative ballot opened on 11 July and will close at 12pm on Tuesday 6 August.

Members should have received an email from snap@snaponline.snapsurveys.com (on behalf of Prospect) which includes a link to the secure voting site and a personal user name and password.

If you did not receive the email by close of play on 11 June, please check your junk folder and then email cmd@prospect.org.uk.

What started out as a discussion on transition principles evolved into a debate on our ability to influence future pay reviews and more recently our very right to collectively negotiate on behalf of our members.

Our strategy therefore focused on:

  • securing what we could on the People Framework transition
  • rejecting wholesale application of discretion on future pay management and
  • confirming Prospect as the legitimate collective voice of our constituency and enhancing our ability to influence the company on behalf of our members.

Your BT committee believes we have delivered against those three tests.

You can download five key documents by logging into the Prospect website and clicking on the hyperlinks:

The original offer letter https://library.prospect.org.uk/download/2019/00993

A full and final offer letter from BT https://library.prospect.org.uk/download/2019/00994

A proposed new recognition agreement https://library.prospect.org.uk/download/2019/00995

An exchange of correspondence between Prospect general secretary, Mike Clancy and BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen https://library.prospect.org.uk/download/2019/00996

People Framework

Although the recent improvement to the People Framework may be modest, pay increases of up to £2,000 for our lowest paid members is a significant uplift and will be welcomed by these members.

BT has confirmed that if members vote to accept this package, any pay increases due will become effective in September, will be over and above the annual pay review and will be paid from a separate pot.

Other improvements include the bonus transition and car allowance arrangements being far better than BT’s original proposals.

The table below illustrates how Prospect negotiators succeeded in shifting the salary ranges across the piece:

Minimum                                Maximum

Career Level C

Original                                   44,000                                     86,000

Current                                    51,000                                     101,000

Career Level D

Original                                   32,000                                     61,000

Current                                    32,000                                     65,000

Career Level E

Original                                   24,000                                     45,000

Current                                    26,000                                     45,000

We have also ensured that the pay ranges will be reviewed annually and we have reserved our position on some of the more pointed aspects of the PF transition – particularly around pay cuts. The company has clearly acknowledged this.

This means we can continue to argue on behalf of members facing potential pay cuts – as we have been doing.

We have not compromised our position on this and we are certainly not tied into it. BT has acknowledged this – they may not like it, but they respect it.

The offer also gives us our best opportunity to tackle the long-running dissatisfaction with differentials between some of our grades and team member grades.

Annual pay review process

The previous proposal on pay was not much more than Prospect agreeing the overall paybill increase (the quantum) which BT would then distribute via managerial discretion.

We always predicted that this year’s pay review would be problematic and early indications suggest this was reasonably accurate.

We have opened the position up from where it was. The company has:

  • accepted that our input is important
  • committed to retaining our input in a structured way with an enhanced level and quality of data to support that, and
  • accepted that pay guidance should change to reflect changing priorities – including Prospect’s priorities.

We have also elevated the status of our annual pay survey.

Recognition

On recognition, we always argued that the quality of our relationship was just as important as the size of our recognition pool.

The People Framework “experience” was proof of that if it was needed.

We believe the proposed new recognition agreement gives us a genuine platform to improve our engagement and therefore our ability to collectively bargain on your behalf.

Some people will say that these are just words and that would be legitimate given our recent experience.

However, we can either carry on complaining or we agree words that we can hold the employer to.

Given the circumstances of the EE employee forum and the company’s intentions on employee engagement, the passage in the letter which states “we recognise Prospect as the collective voice of our management and professional grades in the United Kingdom” is significant.

More to the point, you deserve better and the challenges facing BT mean we have to engage earlier and on a more strategic level.

The proposed agreement:

  • gives us the platform to do that
  • confirms and cements our position
  • allows us to engage on a more strategic level to ensure we do not repeat this experience, and
  • contains elements some thought we would never achieve in the current climate.

We accept there will be some scepticism around some of the commitments in the offer. But we believe there is genuine intent within BT to find a refreshed, better and more positive way of working together.

The only way we can test that is to endorse the agreement.

BT has offered the words. Give us your backing and we will make it work.

Vote YES.