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Target changes in TT WiFi and 2nd line – what’s the score? April 15, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Bonuses, Pay, Preston, TalkTalk, Targets.
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Q: When is a target not a target?

A: When you’re not supposed to hit it!

OK, it’s not very funny.  It’s even less funny if you work at Preston’s TalkTalk WiFi and 2nd Line Broadband  department.  Since – appropriately enough – April Fools Day, they’ve had their target structure change, with the probable effect that many workers are looking at losing a significant chunk of take home pay every month – perhaps up to £50 a month, equivalent to £600 a year.

Local CWU officer Glenn Slater who has also been advising workers in Tech Support has produced a briefing for the WiFi and 2nd Line Broadband.  Read the WiFi/2nd Line briefing here.

The briefing makes it clear that this change in targets (basically through removing the ‘green authorisation’ facility) constitutes a significant change in terms and conditions.  Because of this, the company has an obligation to properly consult with workers over a 30 day period.  But this didn’t happen.

Workers need to think about whether they want to have a voice at work, and if so whether the ‘Chat Back’ or ‘Your Voice’ forums are sufficient.  If they are not sufficient, that leaves the alternative as a properly organised union.  That is what the Communication Workers Union is here to build.

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Comments»

1. tomcwu - April 17, 2009

Apparently meetings were held yesterday in which workers were told that our briefing was innacurate. We do not believe this to be true.

If people let us know what claims the company made, we will come back on them. In particular, we’d be interested to know what the company makes of our suggestion that there should have been a consultation.

Note that simply saying “you should be able to reach these targets” is not, of itself, good enough.

And remember – it’s easy to make all sorts of claims verbally. But will they put them in writing for you?

2. test - April 17, 2009

“with the probable effect that many workers are looking at losing a significant chunk of take home pay every month…”

this is not take home pay as outlined in the contract TalkTalk employees signed, take home pay is pay at the end of the year MINUS bonus… as bonus is just that a BONUS…

“The briefing makes it clear that this change in targets (basically through removing the ‘green authorisation’ facility) constitutes a significant change in terms and conditions.”

Terms and conditions were never changed, again as stated in contract signed, if you can point out the line in the contract that has been changed, ill be happy to change my mind…

“Because of this, the company has an obligation to properly consult with workers over a 30 day period. But this didn’t happen.”

again as T&Cs not changed this is not the case

3. tomcwu - April 17, 2009

Hi Test, I’m afraid you’ve got a few things wrong. Let me address each of your comments.

with the probable effect that many workers are looking at losing a significant chunk of take home pay every month…”

this is not take home pay as outlined in the contract TalkTalk employees signed, take home pay is pay at the end of the year MINUS bonus… as bonus is just that a BONUS…

Perhaps you can point us to some arcane definition of ‘take home’? For most people, “take home” pay is the pay they “take home”. Good that you accept that workers will be taking home less pay though – even if you, erm, don’t think they have “less take home pay”.

Terms and conditions were never changed, again as stated in contract signed, if you can point out the line in the contract that has been changed, ill be happy to change my mind…

It is a popular misunderstanding that your terms and conditions are only constituted by your contract. As we explained in the briefing to Tech Support workers:

“Under law, your ‘terms and conditions’ are constituted not mainly by that piece of paper, but by the ‘custom and practice’ of your working conditions.”

… so the terms and conditions of the work has changed. (Again, think of it in obvious terms: does taking home less pay change the terms on which you work? Obviously.) And a consultation is due.

4. Response - April 17, 2009

“Note that simply saying “you should be able to reach these targets” is not, of itself, good enough”

If a % of a particular team/department meet a measurable, then the above statement stands ‘You should be able to reach these targets’

Granted, if not a single person met a particular measurable, you could argue the target is unrealistic. But without this as proof, simply saying ‘That’s unachievable’ isn’t acceptable in it’s own right.

I have to say I agree with Test in a way. A bonus is supposed to be exactly that, a bonus – designed to reward those who have exceeded the expectations within their role. Surely any company can decide their own bonus structure? How is that a change to Terms and Conditions?

5. tomcwu - April 17, 2009

Hi Response.

There’s clearly a balance. On the one hand, the mere fact that “a %” meet a target is not important. If that level remains about the same, that’s one thing. But if it drops down signficantly, then that change is… signifcant.

The same goes for the amount of money. So if a handful of people in a department of 100 were worse off by 5 quid a month, then it woudn’t be a big deal. But it seems that many workers reckon they’re looking at a lot more than that. This makes it significant.

I’ve already explained how it is a change to terms and conditions. It doesn’t matter what you or I think about it. This is a question of what the law is (though, as we say in our briefings, contact us before taking further steps). Companies do have obligations under law to consult with their workers – I’m not sure why you find that idea distasteful.

Remember, all we’re saying is that workers have a right to be consulted and listened to. Why such a problem with that?

6. Irritated, Of Tulketh - April 17, 2009

Perhaps it would be better for everyone concerned if someone from the management team were to publish what is actually happening, in an actual document, with actual sign off, which we can actually look at and actually stick to. Whether it is provisional or subject to change is COMPLETELY irrelevant, as surely those changes would be documented and briefed as well. It would also be absolutely fantastic if someone could document the predicted impact the customer as well, and brief that out to the workers too?

The Rumour Mill joke is getting old now.

7. tomcwu - April 18, 2009

Quite right. As you’ll remember, one of the reccomendations we made was to ask that things get written down…


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