An unusually far-reaching set of safeguards, commitments and guarantees secured by the union on behalf of 500 former O2 members who are transferring to Capita today (August 1) have gone some way to alleviate serious staff concerns.
In the wake of more than 700 recent voluntary redundancies amongst the 2,000 previously outsourced O2 workers who were TUPE’d to Capita in 2014, news of the latest mass outsourcing sparked understandable anxiety when it was announced on June 29.
Yet, following intensive discussions with not just Capita and O2, but also Tesco Mobile, the CWU is now as confident as it can be that every possible protection has been put in place for the Tesco Mobile contract workers in Preston Brook and Bury involved in the latest TUPE.
Crucially, the CWU has secured guarantees from Tesco Mobile itself that it’s determined that Capita maintains the unique culture that makes the Tesco Mobile contract so popular with employees – and that its own managers will remain on site and continue to be central to the decision-making process on both people and business issues.
Further commitments from Tesco Mobile include:
An unequivocal two-year job security guarantee
No change in job content or location from Preston Brook or Bury
A guarantee on the quality of the working environment going forward – including the size of workstations and the space afforded to employees.
Apart from full adherence to TUPE safeguards to existing terms and conditions Capita’s undertakings to the union include:
A new January-based pay date that effectively increases the value of this year’s pay settlement, as the 2.35 per cent 12-month pay deal will now expire after just nine months
A cast-iron commitment never to transfer Tesco Mobile work offshore or to any other UK site
A new recognition agreement that is specific to the Tesco Mobile contract that will also cover new Capita employees recruited on the Tesco Mobile account
Immediate talks with the union to agree Capita contracts of employment for new joiners – expected to start with the ‘conversion’ of a significant number of existing agency workers on the Tesco Mobile contract
The company’s agreement to a far-reaching redeployment agreement which gives total pay protection in perpetuity for any transferee should they be moved to a lower graded role for whatever reason
Pension arrangements that mirror those currently held by staff.
Assistant secretary Sally Bridge – who conducted the negotiations alongside assistant secretary Brendan O’Brien – who now takes over as the CWU’s new national officer for Capita – concedes that widespread anxieties still persist amongst members . She points out, however, that, in order to make the TUPE a success for Tesco Mobile, the onus rests squarely on Capita to disprove those employee fears.
Sally concludes: “While the CWU genuinely believes this TUPE is fundamentally different in key respects to the last one, it’s wholly understandable for our members to think of their former O2 colleagues and wonder: ‘Am I next?’
“Capita still has a major job of work to do in reassuring our members that this TUPE isn’t going to be a re-run of the previous one. Above everything, it needs to prove it’s true to its word – and the CWU will be watching on closely to ensure it is.”