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Welcome November 27, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in About us, Carphone Warehouse, Getting involved, Irlam, Kelvin Close, News, Preston, Rights, TalkTalk, TTT, Warrington, Wednesbury.
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The Reps and fellow members of the CWU would like to offer a warm welcome to all those who have joined us in the last few months.

If you haven’t received your membership card yet you soon will. If you have any questions please contact and we will do our best to help you.

If you haven’t already, check out SOME of the many BENEFITS of your union membership here; http://www.cwu.org/benefits.html and

http://www.cwu.one1one.co.uk/  and http://www.cwu.one1one.co.uk/specialoffers.cfm




Together we can make a REAL difference

Any organisation needs honest feedback on how it is doing and we, the administrators of the ‘Workers site welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback on what we can do to help you gain information and improve the service the CWU provides.

The union movement is all about involvment and input. If you want to get involved either as a rep or as a point of contact please contact us. Remember all correspondence to this site is confidential.

Taking any active role in the movement will increase your knowledge and your awareness of  the issues we all face in employment and society in general.

Becoming a union member helps us all to achieve…….

Respect and Dignity in the Workplace

 “Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. “

Samuel Gompers

CWU main site www.cwu.org/home/

Stress UPDATED October 23, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in Carphone Warehouse, Health & Safety, Irlam, Kelvin Close, News, Opal, Preston, Rights, Shops, SMC, Stanford House, Stress, TalkTalk, TTT, Warrington, Wednesbury.
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UPDATED 23/10/2011

Management Standards for work related stress

Under UK law, employers have a ‘duty of care’ to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees while at work. They also have to assess the risks arising from hazards at work including work-related stress.

What are the Management Standards for work related stress?

The Management Standards define the characteristics, or culture, of an organisation where the risks from work related stress are being effectively managed and controlled.

The Management Standards cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. In other words, the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work.

see http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/  for the six Management Standards

SEE ALSO ; http://www.employmentlawwatch.com/tags/dickins-v-o2/

Green light? Red card more like… December 9, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Bonuses, TalkTalk, Targets.
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A Carphone Worker correspondent at Preston has got in touch to let us know about the latest change with massive consequences for take home pay…

Another issue with the talk talk ‘green light authorisation’ process has occurred this week with no prior warning and massive consequences for individuals bonus. They have scrapped the process for green lighting adherence for 15 minutes or less meaning if you are stuck on a call and go on your break 14 minutes late it will show you as not adhering to your breaks, thus potentially putting you out of adherence and risking part of your bonus. Everyone is concerned about this as it could have massive implications.  I have tried to talk to my manager about this but as usual been given a pre programmed ‘I don’t care ‘ response.

STOP PRESS!  Further update from our correspondent:

I found out this afternoon after further questioning that they have reduced our adherance target 2% now (what I work out to equate to about 10 minutes from 95 to 93%, still only giving you approx 35 minutes leeway, ten minutes late for a break puts you 20 minutes out on your schedule!) and claim this will account for any changes.  This is rubbish as we always have a queue so unless you are lucky enough to have all your calls end exactly when your break starts you have no chance of logging out in time unless you ‘fudge your stats’  i.e., claiming to need to call the customer back in ten minutes, droping the call or deliberately making yourself over 15 minutes out.   This will have a massive impact on customer service also and could leave employees falling foul of quality guidelines etc.

Want to do something about this sort of thing?  Get in touch…

TT Home Movers: CWU member elected in campaign for fair targets September 15, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Preston, TalkTalk, Targets.
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Workers in Home Movers have elected CWU member Gemma Fitzpatrick to represent them on the company’s “Chat back” forum – an employee consultation body.  Gemma’s election marks a stage in CWU members’ campaign to address a number of issues faced by workers in the TT Operations department.  As we have previously reported, their concerns include bonuses, targets, holidays, and performance management.

In particular, workers are concerned about changes in the bonus structure which make their bonus payout dependent on the statistics relating to the Service Level Agreement.  Because this is in turn affected by how much work is coming in, it is not something that the workers have any control over: however well they work, if more work in total comes into the department, they may still lose their bonus as a result.

Gemma told Carphone Worker, “As union members, we think the company needs to listen to what we have to say.  And as an elected representative of workers in Home Movers, it’s my role to listen to what everyone has to say, and put those views across clearly to the company.”

Michael Parkinson, CWU rep in Home Movers told us that “ultimately, we want to be negotiating with the company, not just being consulted.  That’s what sets a well organised union apart from a consultative body.”

TT home movers: workers speak out together… July 27, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Bonuses, Preston, TalkTalk.
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38 workers in the Home Movers department (TT Operations) in Preston have signed a letter to TT OPs Customer Service Manager James Snellgrove, asking for a meeting.  The workers want to talk to Mr Snellgrove about a series of concerns, including bonuses, targets, holidays, and performance management.

In particular, workers are concerned about changes in the bonus structure which make their bonus payout dependent on the statistics relating to the Service Level Agreement.  Because this is in turn affected by how much work is coming in, it is not something that the workers have any control over: however well they work, if more work in total comes into the department, they may still lose their bonus as a result.

The 38 workers put their names to the letter, which was also signed by CWU branch officer Glenn Slater.  In total, 40 of the 50 workers in the department had the chance to sign the letter: a very strong signal.  The letter was handed to Mr Snellgrove on Friday 17 July.

Carphone Worker hears alot from workers who aren’t happy with changes that have been made, in particular when bonus structures or shift patterns are changed in ways that don’t take them into account.  If all workers spoke out together, maybe we’d be able to do something about it.    The Home Movers workers have taken an excellent step in this direction.

300 seconds… Prepare for stress! May 21, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in TalkTalk, Targets.
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300posterUnlike gory fantasy film 300, Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk Average Handling Time (AHT) target for customer calls involves very little glory.  Instead, workers – and probably customers – must prepare… for stress.

If we cast out minds back in to the depths of mythical time (or just a few years – sorry, got a bit carried away there) we can remember the day when the AHT target was 369 seconds. Enough to give a little leeway for the advisor to deliver a quality First Time Fix – which is what every customer wants.

What has happened since then?

a) customers have learned to speak 30% quicker since 2006 so the reduced target is understandable

b) since technology and procedures have been static over the last three years, and staff turnover is low, advisors will now be familiar with all customer issues.

c) nothing relevant.  They are just putting on the squeeze and not thinking about what this means for workers or customers.

Carphone Worker believes that it is neither a) nor b).

One Carphone Warehouse employee told Carphone Worker yesterday that “you can cut the atmosphere with a knife” on the calling floor.  When targets are too high, it’s no good for workers, and no good for customers.  As we noted in a previous post, overly intense work pacing and lack of control over work are demonstrably unhealthy for call centre workers – and of course it’s no good for the customer either, as workers are stressed and watching the clock.

Workers can either accept that the pace of work will continue to intensify, or they can decide to stick together and say enough is enough.  No more managing people out of work, no more higher targets, for lower real pay, and less sociable shifts.  An active, organised union is a tool for workers to achieve those things.  It’d be legendary, eh?

New CWU rep at Stanford House, Warrington May 14, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in About us, Disciplinaries, Stanford House, TalkTalk.
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Graham3Meet Graham Armstrong, the new Communication Workers Union rep at Stanford House, Warrington.  Graham works for Opal, and has been trained and accredited by the union to support members through the discipline and grievance procedures.

You can contact Graham on cwugraham@rocketmail.com or 07828 673847

Graham says, “As a CWU rep, it’s important for me to develop a good relationship with management because we all want to see a working environment where everyone feels content and supported at all stages.”

If you are going to see Graham in work, please try to make it during a break.  If you need to get in touch out of work using the above details, that’s fine.  If you’re having trouble getting in touch with Graham, you can contact the Liverpool Clerical CWU branch – you can find their details on the ‘contact us’ page of this site.

The CWU is working to build up a network of reps throughout Carphone and TalkTalk – so that wherever members are, there is someone they can go to for advice on site.  Our reps, including Graham, will always treat anything you say with the strictest confidence.

If you, or someone you know, would be willing to take on the role of CWU rep – making sure colleagues get a fair outcome in discipline procedures, and acting as a contact point for those interested in the union – get in touch.

“A great day”, hamageddon May 8, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Health & Safety, TalkTalk.
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TalkTalk group is set to become the largest Internet Service Provider in the UK with the accusation of Tiscali, it was announced today.   TalkTalk group head honcho Charlie D announced the news to workers yesterday, describing it as “a great day in our history”.  The acquisition cost £236 million, proving that the big man can always find the cash to grow his own business, even if he can’t find enough to keep real salaries on the level, or Average Handling Time targets above 300 seconds.

We are told that the companies have “a similar culture”.  Does that mean that everyone at Tiscali is looking for another job as well?

In other news, Carphone Worker learns that the business have responded to the imminent threat of a swine flu epidemic by ensuring that if the potentially lethal disease hits, business will not be disrupted. “Our plans will look at a range of responses including: prioritising of critical work, re-allocating staff, extending home working, moving work to areas unaffected.”  Carphone Worker is confident that we will all be breathing a sigh of relief through our standard-issue face masks.

Credit crunch bites: the great hash brown rebellion April 16, 2009

Posted by tomcwu in Preston, TalkTalk.
Is this the end?

Is this the end?

Stirrings of revolt reach the ears of Carphone Worker, tucked away in our bunker opposite Tulketh Mill, Preston. Apparently, the hash browns have been withdrawn from the canteen on the grounds that they are “too expensive”. Already battered to despair by the credit crunch, wild eyed customer service agents have apparently launched a conspiracy to submit a deluge of canteen feed-back forms demanding that the glistening potato-based treats are returned.

Carphone Worker urges all lovers of freedom (and lunch) to get involved. (Make sure you mark the service up though: workers’ solidarity and all that.)

In completely unrelated news, Carphone Worker learns that TalkTalk employees who have been with the company for more than ten years are now entitled to 30 days annual leave, after an annoucement dated 13 April. We are so touched by the company’s generosity to its many workers of more than ten years service, that we will personally buy a hash brown for each and every one of these workers who comes forward.

It won’t be expensive, even given the evident inflation in the hash brown index. TalkTalk was launched in 2003; no one has worked for the company for more than six years. Edit: as already noted below, TalkTalk Group – to which the announcement applies – contains employees with more than ten years service as it includes staff from companies other than TalkTalk itself.

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

Posted by tomcwu in Bonuses, Pay, Preston, TalkTalk, Targets.

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.