O2 has avoided strike action from the Communication Workers Union over its decision to outsource 3,700 call-centre staff to Capita, after the two parties reached an eleventh hour deal.
Staff in the Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook call centres will be managed by Capita, with 1,000 voluntary redundancies taking place by the end of the year. The union had been left furious by what it claimed was a lack of notice and assurances about the future of staff. Leaked documents claimed that Capita could only keep 1,370 staff from the end of 2015, which O2 said was one scenario under consideration.
The decision on strike action had been due today (18 June) and if it had gone ahead, would have been the first industrial action to hit the telecoms industry in more than 25 years. CWU national official Sally Bridge said: 'We have concluded negotiations on a package which includes job security; pay protection; protection on terms and conditions of employment; redeployment and union recognition. We believe we have made considerable progress in seeking assurances and employment protections.'
An O2 spokesperson said: 'We are pleased to have reached a positive conclusion to the discussions we’ve held with the CWU over the past few weeks. We have been committed from the outset to deliver the best possible outcome for our people and customers. The CWU has now been reassured and, having reached a mutual and shared understanding, O2 is now focused on ensuring that the transition to Capita is a positive one.'
Author: Graeme Neill