CWUTV News | Openreach site Rationalisation

CWUTV News | Openreach site Rationalisation


The national team have met Openreach on a number of occasions for them to set out the plans around working together
in the site rationalization programme. What they’ve never done is set out either a business case or a clear rationale as to what the benefits to the business will be. Clearly, the impact from our members point of view is that reducing to such a small number of sites, currently 23, means that many will be left stranded. There will be no jobs at their location whatsoever. The company has tried to insist that what they will do
is take work to those individuals in the short term, but in reality their work will be transferred to the new centres
and we’re not at all clear what will happen to them. It’s fair to say that the majority of the members affected
in the North-East are absolutely devastated. Not just at the news, which they were told just before Christmas, but once it became clear about the effect it would have going forward, on themselves and their families and their prospects of promotion and just working for Openreach in general. Basically, it means that if you are not within a
reasonable travel distance of either Newcastle or Leeds, then your promotion prospects are over, you will be classed as stranded resource. Some of the major problems, especially down in Cornwall now
are how it’s affecting all our members, not just people that work in desk based roles, but now there is no promotion, basically for the whole of Cornwall. We do have some problems, even in places like Bournemouth and Southampton, where we have 100 people sat in Bournemouth
who are out-scoped to travel to Southampton now. These people are told they are going to sit, doing what they’re doing until they retrain someone else to do their job and they are now absolutely scared because there’s also rumours
that they are going to be moved to BT Billing, which these are highly skilled engineering roles, having to move into a call centre type of environment. So, a lot of fear out there, not anger as such, people are scared and that’s
the first time I’ve seen our membership so scared. In the Midlands, the effect on our members has been
a mixture of anger, confusion and fear. Confused because they can’t understand why it’s being done, fearful is for the people who are classed as out of scope will end up without a job in Openreach, or where they will be redeployed to. So it’s a mixture of all three. People in Leeds, the Centre of Excellence there,
are already encountering longer days, issues with travel, they have the uncertainty of not knowing how long
they’re going to be doing their existing jobs for. People have turned their lives upside-down in order to facilitate these moves and their future is so uncertain. Policy is very clear, we want to maintain and create a maximum number
of highly skilled, highly graded jobs in the maximum number of locations. This is a key issue, not just for those individuals
who are currently desk based, but for all our members who work in the field, who may want promotion or development in the future. If the reduction in the number of offices, desk based roles,
reduces in the way in which the company envisages, that future, that promotion, that development, just won’t exist for our members. We’re not going to allow that to happen.

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