Prospect O2 Pay Claim Update

19 January 2011

Your union negotiators have presented your pay claim to O2. We have consistently focused on the issues that you have prioritised in your feedback to the union, both through the survey and in a host of emails received over the last few weeks.

These include the internal and external market comparisons, progression through the pay ranges and the rate of inflation.

We have been engaged in intense and detailed discussions with the Company and we are struggling to find a solution that we feel we could balance both your and the Company’s expectations.

Internal market
Members are continually reminding us of the CWU’s 2.75% agreement and the belief that those members, who are more junior managers and professionals in particular, do not feel adequately rewarded for their higher responsibility. Too many are complaining that there is a very small differential over those they manage and some are even paid less than those they manage.

External market
The evidence does not show that O2 is a particularly high payer in the market place and there is evidence that new employees have been recruited at levels of pay well above many of their equivalent colleagues.

Cost of living
The rate of inflation is high and is set to remain high for the next year at least.

So where does that leave us?
O2 has explained that its market position is increasingly competitive, its competitors are all cutting costs and it remains under pressure to reduce costs, invest in technology and improve customer service. The union has made allowance for these concerns in our approach to pay negotiations and our involvement in the current restructuring of the company.

The messages we are receiving from members are that there needs to be enough in the pay budget to ensure the differential over those they manage is increased to reflect their extra responsibility, especially for those who are at the lower ends of the pay range, whilst ensuring that everybody gets a reasonable pay increase that reflects some progression through their pay ranges at a time of high inflation.

Pay discussions are always difficult for professionals and managers. Whilst the general population receive a flat rate increase as a contribution towards the increased cost of living and staged progression awards through short pay ranges, our members require an increase that provides a cost of living increase, progression through long pay ranges and performance related pay.

We have rejected a budget of 2.75% because it cannot meet those reasonable expectations you have of O2 and we need confidence that an adequate budget will apply to all professionals and managers who are members of the union, whatever their grade.

O2 is listening to our concerns and tells us it is prepared to agree terms of reference for an urgent review of its pay structure for managers and professionals.

What next?
The union is keen to reach agreement with O2 as soon as possible but it appears that we will not be able to reach agreement in time for the company to implement its pay award by March 1st, so there is a risk that the increase will need to be backdated.

We will continue to keep members informed and we will be happy to hold meetings with members around the country. In the meantime please let us and the company know if you feel we are properly representing your views Please also remember that the more members we have, the more effective we will be so please pass this on to colleagues who may not be members and encourage them to join.