The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 1st February 2019

Higher profits, lower pensions

By New Worker correspondent

BRITISH TELECOM has been warned by Prospect, which represents mangers and technical staff, over its handling of a major restructuring. Prospect national secretary Noel McClean warned that: “BT is bringing in the changes too fast, and on a piecemeal basis across different business units, before negotiations with the union have ended. Prospect did secure some improvements in earlier talks, but these don’t go far enough.” He lamented the fact that: “Before Christmas we asked the company to pause the process while further talks were held but BT rejected this.

“People are baffled that their years of loyalty and dedication are being met by pay cuts or threats of dismissal. You do not get successful organisational change without the support of staff. We hope the new CEO will take heed of our concerns.” In November the company reported that its restructuring work was boosting profits after 2,000 people had left in the previous six months. In all it expects to shed 13,000 workers in three years, to the glee of shareholders.

Prospect says the proposed new salary ranges are too low and too broad, and that BT is playing a divide and rule game of giving individual line managers more discretion — the opposite of a transparent pay system.

Many workers are facing a potential pay cut as their role is reorganised into the new staffing structure. People whose pay is currently “above range” face the unpalatable choice of taking an immediate pay cut to keep their old terms and conditions, applying for a new role in the company (with no guarantee of success) or leaving with a settlement agreement. Those rejecting all three options face the threat of dismissal without compensation or of being fired and rehired on less favourable terms.