EE retail staff being transferred to franchises in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire have accused the operator of ‘abandoning’ them after finding out some of their benefits, like private healthcare, could be changed.
Franchisee Ortel has written to staff in the Stroud, Circencester, Didcot and Bristol Clifton branches outlining proposed changes to some benefits ahead of it officially taking over the store from 1 December. According to the document, which has been seen by Mobile, perks such as private healthcare and critical illness cover, which staff had received under EE, was proposed as not being available. Ortel has told employees it will match EE’s contribution to some benefits but staff have said the proposed changes would leave them out of pocket.
A number of concerned staff contacted Mobile with them claiming the consultation process felt like the proposed changes were not up for negotiation. One employee told Mobile: ‘It feels like EE has completely washed its hands of us. We’ve been loyal employees for a number of years and we’ve not had any loyalty shown in return.’
Another said: ‘EE calls it a consultation period, but it doesn’t feel like a consultation period at all. All of our questions are being answered with other questions.’
A third retail staff member said: ‘I don’t think EE has done this in the right way. I had a number of opportunities when I took this job and I chose EE because of its promise on the way it treated staff and invested in us. Now it feels like it’s just sold us on to boost its profits.’
An EE spokesperson said: ‘We are currently in a consultation process with all staff affected who will TUPE across with terms and conditions protected. We cannot pre-empt the outcome of this consultation.’
CWU national official John East added: ‘We would urge the new franchise owner to honour the full terms and conditions of these staff and would also like to see EE take an interest in ensuring its store representatives are fairly looked after.’
Ortel managing director Raj Chawda declined to comment. Employees met the franchisee again as Mobile went to press on Tuesday (12 November). EE announced last month it was to add 14 franchises to its existing retail estate.
Author: Matthew Campelli