BT seek to tear up redundancy agreement

28 September 2020

BT proposes to halve the two-year cap on redundancy payments. The recognised unions in BT are united in opposition to the changes and are calling on members to tell BT what they think.

In a message to members today, Prospect national secretary John Ferrett, said:

“In May of this year BT wrote to both Prospect and the Communications Workers Union (CWU)) to announce their intention to review the redundancy terms agreed with both unions in 2018. They served one-year’s notice on the unions, with an intention to introduce new terms by 1 June 2021.

“In their letter BT spoke of how they wished to introduce a single set of severance terms to replace the seven schemes that they currently operate. This announcement was followed up with meetings with the respective unions where it was confirmed that the intention was to introduce a single scheme to cover all employees and to cover both paid-leavers and redundancy terms. Furthermore, the proposal put to the unions made it clear that severance terms would be capped at one-year, in contrast to a two-year cap that is a feature of both team member and manager redundancy agreements.

“BT has now released their proposals for employees to review and comment on. This is highly unusual given the unions are still engaged in a negotiation process with the company. Indeed, it could be argued it is an attempt to undermine that process. Nevertheless, it does give members the opportunity to scrutinise the proposals and let the company know what they think about them.

“Furthermore, it is crucial that you do convey to BT your views on these cuts to redundancy terms – silence will only be taken as agreement with the proposals. Prospect’s view is unequivocal on the changes – this is BT making it cheaper to cut your job. Notwithstanding arguments the company will seek to make about simplifying terms and changing the accrual rate, the reality for long-serving and loyal employees is that BT is halving the cap on your redundancy terms.”

“The unions in BT, Prospect and the CWU, are united in their opposition to these changes. You will have seen our joint statement which clearly spells out the intention of the unions to work and campaign together in BT. There will clearly be attempts to “sell” these changes over the next few weeks by the company. However, we would urge members to send a loud and clear message to BT that these changes are unacceptable

“In the meantime the unions will continue to meet with the company to demand changes to the proposals. Indeed, we have been asked for counter-proposals and will be sharing our ideas with BT. Prospect’s key demand remains that redundancy must be seen as distinct from paid leavers, given that our members have no choice when they are put at risk of redundancy.

“Finally, as well as letting BT know how you feel about the changes please let the union know your views. You can do this by replying to this message or alternatively by joining the debate on our Workplace site:

“The campaign against these changes will need your support and the only way we will reverse these changes is a preparedness to fight them.”