Prospect union urges members at BT: Say yes to pay and grading shakeup revisions

Common ground found on People's Framework revamp after months of haggling

Prospect the union has advised BT employees to approve the so-called People's Framework, a programme of change that includes a revamp of pay and grading structures, following months of discussions.

Previously, 96.3 per cent of BT workers who are Prospect members voted against the proposals in a ballot on 13 March. At the time, the union said that the framework did "nothing to enhance the security transparency and visibility of what BT is offering its workforce".

On Friday, Prospect said it had been locked in "difficult and extremely protracted" talks with the company, but has received a fresh offer that will be put to a staff vote "with a recommendation" to back it.

The union said its negotiators concentrated on influencing the "transition" to the framework, "rejecting wholesale application of discretion on future pay management".

The terms that staff should vote in the affirmative for include:

  • Higher pay for entry-level workers at the start of their career (non-sales will rise from £24,000 to £26,000 from 1 September 2019)
  • Greater influence in future pay reviews from 2020
  • Increased union recognition
  • Confirm Prospect's collective voice and expand collective bargaining reach
  • Continue the union's ability to defend members confronted by pay cuts
  • Negotiate future pay distribution on agreed terms
  • Deal with future challenges as a strengthened union

The ballot opened on 11 July and closes on 6 August at noon.

Noel McLean, national secretary at Prospect, said: "The management's final offer is a demonstrable improvement from its starting point, and we won't be able to fight future battles without it. We therefore should accept this final offer to secure our legitimacy."

It sounds as though the union has managed to shore up its position with BT management, and is preparing to hunker down for the potential fight ahead, with the few concessions being entry-level workers' pay and the ability to affect future pay talks.

In an internal memo, seen by The Reg, BT also agreed "transition principles for car, bonus and health" and "the approach to pay management, including overall pay award, how we review the outcomes of the annual pay review, and annual reviews of pay range".

In a statement sent to El Reg, BT said: "We've consulted extensively with Prospect and our employees on the changes we are making to build a better BT for the future. After a lot of hard work from everybody involved, we have concluded the talks and Prospect will be recommending that their members accept BT's proposals in a forthcoming ballot." ®

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