back to article Unionised BT workers reject plans to revamp pay, grading structures

Members of the Prospect trade union at BT have voted overwhelmingly to reject the telco's so-called People Framework proposals to overhaul the pay and grading structure. Money down the back of the sofa Pic: Shutterstock BT's outgoing CEO: He's officially gone, but he'll score £1m in pay, pension until Oct READ MORE Former BT …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Progress

    My experience of BT very poor. Using BT openreach for fibre, in terms of trouble shooting issues pretty dire. When using BT itself, their systems where really poor.

    1. MonkeyBob
      Devil

      Re: Progress

      I'm not quite sure how this relates to a massive change in pay structure or huge job cuts

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Progress

      OpenReach is (finally) not part of BT.

      1. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: Progress

        oh but its still part of BT Group and ultimatley reports to the BT Board

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Progress

      And that comment has what exactly to do with the subject matter?

      The point is the people framework is not fit for purpose, was dreamt up with no thought put into it on the implications of a large business. Categorising everyone as grades "A-F" and associating pay, progression and expected impact of their work to this grade over simplifies and is doomed to failure. The lack of communication from HR is simply bizarre, and the number of changes they've made following so many issues raised shows how little thought has been put into it. A completely bizarre process and a massive waste of money.

  2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    Confused

    Unionised BT workers...

    Do BT have a policy to convert workers to ions?

    1. Mr Catbert

      Re: Confused

      Yes, it involves HR wheeling out a big electron gun. Don't worry - this wont hurt... Much!

  3. ds6 Bronze badge

    Unions, pay cuts, and personnel under-the-bussing really shouldn't have a place in the corporate world anymore... Wishful thinking, right?

    1. 96percentchimp

      Pay cuts and personnel under-the-bussing yes, but why unions? Unions are an essential tool for staff to ensure they're fairly rewarded for their service to the shareholders (assuming a PLC, or profit for a private company).

      1. nijam

        > Unions are an essential tool for staff

        Unions used to be an essential tool for staff. Nowadays they seem (in my experience) to be an entirely self-serving "company within a company" whose role is to (a) preserve themselves (b) to promote themselves by increasing the number of members they "represent". Actual representation, if it occurs, is a purely accidental side effect of (b).

        1. ds6 Bronze badge

          Exactly. This is a problem with a lot of unions, particularly in the US.

          And my point wasn't so much that all unions were bad and should stop existing, but that modern companies should have learned from the mistakes of their ancestors and actually try to support their workers without screwing them over at every money-shaving opportunity. Again, wishful thinking.

  4. Santa from Exeter
    FAIL

    Time Warp?

    Quote "BT's central London HQ in St Paul's, a building it has resided in since 1874."

    British Telecommunications, trading as British Telecom, was formed in 1980, almost 100 years later.

    1. Electric Panda

      Re: Time Warp?

      Correct. The current BT Centre building was only opened in time for privatisation in 1984 and is very obviously not the original building.

      The "telephones" have been headquartered on that plot of land since time immemorial, but the modern BT HQ building is only 35 years old.

  5. Tachisme
    Thumb Up

    BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

    I've worked for BT for many years, in a variety of roles. I'm one of the minority who voted in favour of the 'People Framework' (the term for the new conditions).

    BT is changing - we recognise that customer service hasn't been good enough. We also recognise that there is work to do to both maintain and improve the value proposition: EE and BT Mobile have the best network of all of the operators, but will it still be the best in five years, i.e. once 5G is rolled out? Not unless we continue to innovate. (Fibre to the premises is a different issue - blame Sharon White and her highly-politicised Ofcom for their refusal to engage with commercial realities, there).

    My job is currently at risk, so I'm currently reviewing my options and making myself as employable as possible. The redundancies and reorganisation are, however, necessary. We can't whinge that BT isn't efficient enough, and/or charges too much, and then also complain that they dare to address this by reorganising and becoming more efficient. Well, we can, but we shouldn't because it's ignorant at best, and hypocritical at worst. I therefore voted in favour of the changes: BT will remain the key communications provider in the UK for decades, and we should all hope that it succeeds. It will only do that if it can evolve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

      This “new” pay structure... is that new as in more, or new as in less?

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

      I see this is your first post on El Reg. Would one of your many BT rôles per chance be in their PR department?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

        It reads like a PR release.

      2. Tachisme

        Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

        This isn't my first post - I've been a users since 2006, and posted dozens of times (the moderators could confirm that; not that they should care). I realised that my user ID might 'out' me though if I were to comment on this story (if cross-referenced to posts on other sites using the same username ), so I changed it. Apparently that's a risk that other people recognised years ago (see below). It's annoying that resets my history on The Register: I hoped it would retain my history, but keep it under new name.

        1. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/422715/how-your-username-may-betray-you/

        2. https://www.tomsguide.com/us/single-username-risks,news-18288.html

        3. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82300834.pdf

        [Edit: I've just realised what the issue was - my previously posts were anonymous, so while they're listed in my 'https://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/posts/' section, they're not attributed to me'.]

    3. MonkeyBob
      FAIL

      Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

      And I voted against it for a number of reasons.

      I have gotten more information about the new pay structure from the union than from BT. All they seem to have been able to say is that there will be 5 pay bands from frontline grunts to the CEO making them absolutely huge. I also have no idea which pay band I will fit into so voting for it is blindly voting for whats an unknown, kind of like voting for Brexit with no plan. I also disagree that managers should be deciding how payrises should be shared out amongst their team, this is ripe for unconscious bias and reducing trust between workers and managers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

        It is the exceptional pay which bothers me. It absolutely will just lead to GMs and Heads Of over-rewarding a few rockstars based on cronyism and dubious performance grounds, not their value to the business or the worry of them being poached. Meanwhile rank-and-file Analysts and Seniors/Specialists will get the bare minimum.

        BT does have a reputation for paying most people considerably less than you could get elsewhere for a similar role, something not lost on our competitors and LinkedIn recruiters. It is becoming a real worry in growth areas like security.

    4. rag2

      Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

      The issue with your intriguing thesis is that there is a presumption that a new management & pay structure will somehow, magically, make the company more efficient. In my direct experience of BT, such new structures do little more than to fritter away the esprit de corps of the staff in favour of short-term cash-flow reductions on the pay front.

      Long term, the company, in this case BT, suffers. And consequently, those who do business with the company suffer. And as for awarding staff "Golden" status, just how is such status to be compatible with team-work? And removing indirect discrimination? Strong companies are those where such pernicious behaviours are systematically discouraged, rather than structurally enabled. As for "We value diversity…"!

  6. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    "a claim BT has since denied"

    Never believe a rumour until it's officially denied.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are 5 or 6 grades, let's call them A to F. The top 5% of senior management have 3 of those. Go figure.

    Most non entry level type staff will be in something like D or E. This means 80% of staff have literally no room for progression as one grade covers what used to be about 7 pay and skill grades that maybe took 20 years to move in. Your manager /more experienced colleague/former boss's boss is now all at the same level.

    Happen to get a promotion and you have new, worse terms contract to sign.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I voted against the deal.

    Part of my reasoning was frustration at how badly the company has handled it. Some parts of the company have already been rammed through the process and are on the new terms while my own place on the People Framework is likely to remain a complete mystery until 2020.

    The other part of my reasoning was how messy and lacking in clarity the whole process is. We are being told not to speculate on what our new grade will be and how we should not be cross-checking with our current grades. I think that's wise advice considering what I have heard from people who have been through it, who have told me the grading is essentially random for people at the lower end of the scale. Two people who used to be the same grade and more or less the same role, one is now on E and the other on D. There are jobs being advertised internally with the new grades yet the HR recruiters can't always tell you what the salary is, simply because they honestly don't know.

    I have to say I am now asking very serious questions about whether it's worth staying with BT. Do I spend another year, waiting out chronic uncertainty and the worst staff morale I have experienced in any workplace, only to end up no better than I was before or possibly worse? Or do I leave now and get a fresh start with a promotion and payrise? Promotion at BT is already traumatically slow and almost literally everybody is paid less than they could get elsewhere for the same role.

    I can tell you first hand I am not the only person mulling these questions. Two others in my team have made the exact same point without me bringing it up first.

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