CWU reject O2’s pay offer


O2 has had its 1.25 per cent pay increase offer to its staff rejected by the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

Mobile News reported last month O2 staff holding managerial positions, including retail and customer service were “encouraged” to accept a 1.25 per cent pay increase through an internal online ballot system. The offer has been rejected.

The CWU has confirmed this week a request for a five percent increase as well as a pay progression scheme were both rejected on February 23 by O2 and it would continue to negotiate with the operator. New negotiations are understood to have started last week (March 4).

O2, who added one million customers in Q4, admits the offer is not as high as previous years. It has blamed the local and global financial insecurity in the business and a ‘sluggishness’ in consumer spending.

It also highlighted a “worrying decline” in its consumer satisfaction score and said the need to invest has ‘never been greater.’

The CWU has urged O2 to be “mindful” of its results. CWU assistant secretary Ian Cuthbert said: ‘The CWU has formally rejected the “final” offer from O2 and told the company that it needs to think again. The success of any company is in no small measure down to its employees. O2 needs to reward its workforce for the huge contribution made by employees to the success of O2.

“O2 claim that it will be guided by it’s pay principles one of which is “Our overall pay budget is determined with our financial position and company performance in mind”. The CWU has urged O2 to be mindful therefore of the results it posted for the third quarter of 2009 which showed that the company is doing well despite the recession last year.”

O2’s proposal for staff working in tech specs, retail and technical and engineering would receive a maximum increase of 2.5 per cent based on achieving an APR score of one. Staff achieving an APR 2 would receive a 1.75 per cent increase, APR 3 a 1.25 per cent  and no increase for an APR of four.

Staff on Newgrid contracts, formerly BT employees, were offered a 1.25 per cent pay increase. Staff on Newgrid contracts with an APR score of one would also receive a 1.25 per cent lump sum pay reward. Staff scoring an APR of two would get a 0.5 per cent reward whilst APR scores of three or four would receive nothing. The CWU state the majority of O2 staff would receive a maximum increase of 1.25 per cent.

An O2 email sent to staff at the end of February said: “Over the past few weeks we’ve been in negotiations with CWU representatives over the pay award for this year. A final offer was put forward to the CWU earlier this week, which has been rejected.

“We’re naturally disappointed our offer hasn’t been accepted as we were pleased to be able to buck the recessionary trends of other companies and put forward an increase for the second year running. We look forward to continuing the conversation with them after this date.  We’ll keep in touch with you as things progress.”