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Part time workers and PC users October 22, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in Carphone Warehouse, Health & Safety, Kelvin Close, News, Opal, Part Time Workers, Preston, Rights, Shops, SMC, Stanford House, Stress, Wednesbury.
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Part time workers and PC users

Many part-time workers are often forced to work their short shift without a break. The regulations are clear that until six hours are worked there is no automatic right to a break.

Yet, this can be concidered unreasonable for all workers. In particular when working with a PC monitor and keyboard or in need of drinks and toilet breaks.

If you are a part timer and instructed by your manager that you are not entitled to a break then concider asking for small “comfort breaks” to allow time away from the your desk to stretch your legs and have a break from the PC.

The regulations may state one thing but your body and mind may tell you another and you need a break.  Afterall your full time colleagues have a break every two to three hours on average so why cant a part timer?

The regulations for PC oprators is covered by regulations on the link below.


Most jobs provide opportunities to take a break from the screen, eg to do filing
or photocopying. Make use of them. If there are no such natural breaks in your
job, your employer should plan for you to have rest breaks. Frequent short
breaks are better than fewer long ones.

other links of interest.





Waterford – Farewell and good luck October 13, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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Today’s announcement via global email from the TTG HR Director Nigel Sullivan marks the final notice of the Waterford site.

This website would like to take this opportunity to wish you all in Waterford the very best of luck for the future. You are known by all employees’ and customers alike, for your professionalism, dedication and huge experience you were always willing to share and all so very welcomed at a time when the rest of the group were sinking under the weight of The Great “Free Broadband” fiasco. The greatest tragedy is that the Board is unable to see the loss of this centre of excellence will have a resounding negative impact on the remaining employees and the customer’s experience. To lose a superb call centre of 575 dedicated employees is nothing short of unbelievable.




The original email, posted on the 7th August, announcing the Waterford closure stated,

We announced in July that we are reducing the number of outsource partners we have, and as a result we are winding down our work in Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai and Cape Town over the coming months.”


The majority of work currently undertaken at Waterford would be transferred to Wipro, CCI and Transcom. This reflects the fact that the vast majority of our calls (around 80%) are already handled offshore.”

The question that needs to be asked is ;

If a site with such huge experience, dedication and excellence can be closed (in 30 days) and the “majority of work … be transferred to Wipro, CCI and Transcom.” because,  “…our calls (around 80%) are already handled offshore.”, what is the next part of the “28 Priorities“?

If we have a look at number 22 as the example relevant to Waterford ( and all the TTG sites)

Corporate Site strategy

Develop and start implementing plans to optimize the use of our property estate

There are serious questions that need to be answered, because as mentioned above Waterford -soon to be followed by Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai and Cape Town are being wound down, presumably, like Waterford, to full closure.

There is an obvious contradiction here,

…. “we are reducing the number of outsource partners we have, and as a result we are winding down our work in Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai and Cape Town” but then goes onto state, “..Waterford (work) would be transferred to Wipro, CCI and Transcom.”

Where is the logic? What is The Plan? Is this latest update just another tick on the list of whatever is the Corporate Site Strategy?


The main question for the remaining sites?

Who’s next and when?


Strictly confidential October 10, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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Should you wish to write to this site to comment or ask for advice then please do so.

All comments and correspondence received is treated in the strictest confidence and will never be passed on to a third party unless permitted in writing by the author.

This is not a full time staffed site so please be patient if you require a reply. This is not a LIVE site so your correspondence will not appear until read by the administrator. If your comments are an FYI to this site only please start your correspondence with “Private and confidential”

Stress now most common cause of absence-UPDATED October 9, 2011

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

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


Stress is, for the first time, the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees, according to this year’s Absence Management survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth.
Organisational change and restructuring is cited as the number one cause of stress at work, highlighting the impact of cuts to jobs, pension benefits and pay freezes.

see the link below for the full report.

Simplyhealth: www.simplyhealth.co.uk/shcore/sh/content/pdfs/surveys/CIPD_2011_Absence_Managemen1.pdf

What to do if you feel stressed or a feeling of unable to cope?

Number ONE –  before things get out of hand get the facts and be honest with yourself.

check out the link below for advice and guidence.


PLEASE Look after yourself………..With an average of 40 days of unpaid overtime worked a year, Britons work the longest hours in Europe, so maybe its time to take stock and think about YOU!

The big issue for many who suffer from workplace stress is the effects on family life and relationships. PLEASE Look after yourself – life is hard at the moment – dont struggle on and on and on. Work issues can and do overflow into our home lives when work issues play on our minds. Conversations and comments that would not be given a second thought can, when stressed and tired, become revolving in negative mindtalk, becoming a catalyst for more stress and sleeplessness.

Switching off the office when we go home is easier said than done, especially for managers with company phones and laptops and reports to write.

As a member of a union you will have access to independent advice.  There is a 200 year history of support and experience in people like you helping people like you.

For those who want to seek advice and help indendently check with your Doctor.

Please remember –  You Are Not Alone

…………..and neither are the  Carphone, BBE and TTG MANAGERS 

There is support and help out there.

..the strength of the union is in its members. The stronger the union, the stronger the voice

Agency Worker Regulations updated September 11, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 come into force on 1 October 2011.

The regulations will give agency workers the entitlement to the same or no less favourable treatment as comparable employees with respect to basic employment and working conditions, if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in a particular job.

Full guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations [PDF, 335kb] can be found on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website. (Guidance may be subject to change prior to regulations coming into force, please check back regularly for updates.)


Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service site states the following

Temporary and contract workers play an important role in providing flexibility for UK businesses. Employers who use recruitment agencies are responsible for what they do, so they must be sure the agency acts appropriately and in accordance with their equality and diversity policies.

Agency workers are classed as “workers” rather than as employees. All workers, including agency workers, are entitled to certain rights which include:

  • Paid annual leave
  • Rest breaks and limits on working time
  • The National Minimum Wage
  • No unlawful deductions from wages
  • Discrimination rights under the Equality Act 2010
  • Health and safety at work

agency workers have the right, as all workers do in Law, to join a Trade Union.

This site says;

If you are not a member of a trade union it is strongly advised to join. The CWU has a presence within the Carphone and TalkTalk companies, with membership increasing each week.

Being a member of a trade union can and does make a difference when advice and guidence is needed.  See the “Join Union” tab for details.


Project Crystal Part 2? September 8, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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The announcement yesterday that 575 jobs in Waterford are gone, has raised the question, “Is this Project Crystal Part 2” ?

The company already lighter and “leaner” to meet the challenges ahead put 580 at risk ,and those who were left thought that was it for some time. A degree of safety perhaps, but no, a few short months later an entire call centre with 575 experienced and dedicated skilled workers are given 30 days notice.

A question for the company’s remaining employees to ask,  is-

What assurances can the remaining workforce, now under three thousand, have that Project Crystal isn’t going to be rolled out for Part 3 or 4?

The company needs to come clean. The workers across the entire group have bent over backwards and done all and more to facilitate a successful transition “post Crystal”, but, as the Waterford closure indicates there is no certainty that Crystal has actually finished.

Indeed, what remaining staff and managers alike need to know is the “what, where and when” is going to happen ( before it happens ),  and to be shown due respect for the dedication and hard work they have shown since the creation of the TalkTalk Group.

Allowing a feeling of grave doubt and uncertainty to fester in the remaining workforce will do nothing to increase any self esteem and confidence in planning for the future of themselves and their families.



Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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The  announcement by TTG Human Resources  today was a bolt from the blue for the whole of  TTG.

FIVE-HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE colleagues in Ireland have been informed today they are on 30 days notice. WATERFORD, a town already hit with the closure of other employers in recent times.

The statement ended,

“Whilst this is disappointing news for those members of our TalkTalk team employed at Waterford …”

Disappointing news? The understatement of the year, given that the TTG has already announced 580 earlier this year. With today’s announcement a total over 1150 job losses this year. This after PROJECT CRYSTAL was thought to be completed.

The question is Why?

For those at the coal-face, talking to customers every day the complaints are still being heard. True, statistically they may be dropping but to loose another

FIVE-HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE when are so many things that need doing, putting right, improving, re-building, creating and all to make the TTG the very best in the utilities industry beggars belief.

Belfast Telegraph

“Some 575 workers at a major employer in the south-east are facing the dole in 30 days after telecoms giant TalkTalk dramatically announced it was shutting its call centre.

The company is pulling the plug on the Waterford operation after a huge fall in customer service phone business and amid plans to outsource. It takes redundancies in the city to more than 2,000 in the last three years, creating the worst unemployment blackspot in the country.”


If you are a union member CONTACT YOUR UNION or BRANCH and seek advice. If you are not, seek advice and learn about your rights.

A question TO THE REST – Who’s next?






Tackling rapidly rising workplace stress is still a major issue August 25, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News, Rights.
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Ten years ago…HSE research  revealed about….

five million workers in the UK experienced stress and half a million believe it makes them ill, costing the nation over £3.7 billion.

The 2003 Stressed Out survey by the Samaritans, the UK emotional support charity, found: “People’s jobs are the single biggest cause of stress… with over a third (36 per cent) of Briton’s citing it as one of their biggest stressors.”

Our hearts and minds can face intolerable pressures from work. Overwork, bullying, low job control and satisfaction, job insecurity, new ways of working, poor work organisation and pace of work can all cause work stress.

The mental symptoms of stress range from sleeplessness and listlessness through to clinical depression and suicide. The physical effects range from appetite loss and nausea through to heart damage and stroke.

A workplace with a lot of stress may suffer from high absenteeism, higher risk of accidents, industrial relations problems, demotivation and high labour turnove

TUC research in 2010 found that stress is now by far the most common health and safety problem at work.

Nearly two thirds (62%) of workplace union reps say that stress is in the top five problems faced by the workers they represent and more than a quarter of reps (27%) pick out stress as the hazard at work that most concerns them.

Your employer has a Duty of Care to you to ensure your health and safety is protected. That includes your mental health by ensuring stress levels are not excessive or prolonged.

If you feel severly stressed – speak up. Ask questions and make yourself heard because only by speaking out can the company help. If it doesnt know – it cant deal with it.

If you feel you are not listened to or being taken seriously – speak to your Union Rep.

The curious case of the BONUS not a bonus August 24, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in Bonuses, Carphone Warehouse, Kelvin Close, News, Pay, Preston, Stanford House, Targets, Warrington.
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Apparently a bonus cant be paid on insurance selling or saving a cancellation because of FSA rules. Fair enough so far, (if that is the case), because it is “incentivising.”
BUT when the employee doesn’t save enough insurance cancellations then 10% of the employees overall bonus is affected and can be lost.

But, hang on, IF bonus on selling insurance is banned because it is incentivising, then isn’t NOT Saving insurance also incentivising if it is part of the overall bonus conditions?

If you are affected or can shed light on this curious rule then please get in touch

Ireland CWU August 20, 2011

Posted by eddiefitz in News.
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For our colleagues in Waterford there is the CWU Ireland and you can access their site via


or direct contact details are:

Fionnuala Ní Bhrógáin
01 8663037 / 086 1562281
fnib@cwu.ie         mailto:    fnib@cwu.ie

After extensive Googling I couldnt find an accurate picture of the Waterford office. Has anyone got one and, if poss, send it to me?