A row over the removal of company cars has resulted in Virgin Media being forced to accept a ‘mass grievance’ according to the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
The removal of the cars was without consultation over compensation for the loss of the benefit. The operator refused to hear the grievance previously, which was submitted by 120 CWU members. The hearing takes place today (4 April).
Previously, Virgin Media CWU members had also submitted a grievance about the company’s decision to outsource a significant part of its planning role.
A Virgin Media spokesperson, Emma Hutchinson, said: ‘Virgin Media has independent and well established forums where our people represent themselves and their colleagues with an inclusive voice. We listen closely to what our people say and our forums are actively involved in Virgin Media’s decision making.’
CWU assistant secretary, John East, said: ‘While the CWU did not actually submit the latest grievance, most of the members taking part were represented by the union at that hearing, at their own request.
‘The overwhelming view of staff is that, under Virgin Media's own policies and procedures, there should have been a discussion about some level of compensation for the loss of an important benefit - and the case they put together is compelling.
‘Only time will tell if the company's decision to hear this grievance is indicative of a dawning realisation that it can't continue to treat the legitimately expressed concerns of its workforce with total and blatant contempt - but it's encouraging that this grievance was at least heard.
‘I'm sure the message won't have been lost on CWU members and non-members alike that collective action has, in this instance, forced Virgin Media to at least listen to the legitimate concerns of a disgruntled section of its workforce - though what the ultimate outcome will be is obviously still uncertain.’
He added: ‘Virgin Media told us that it was inappropriate to hear the initial grievance during the consultation process - but that was exactly the same argument it made over its initial refusal to hear the grievance on company cars.
‘The union's view is that there's been a blatant inconsistency in Virgin Media's approach, and that the CWU can't sit back and allow the company to have it both ways. The consultation has now ended and it is patently obvious it was a flawed process. As such, we're insisting, on behalf of the 120 signatories of the original mass grievance, that the company hears that broader-based grievance as well.’