O2 avoids strike action over outsourcing in 11th hour

O2 reaches an agreement with the CWU regarding pay, pensions and terms and conditions of workers transferring to Capita

O2 has reached a last-minute agreement with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) in relation to the pay, pensions and terms and conditions of workers set to transfer to Capita following a 10-year outsourcing agreement.

Earlier this month, the CWU announced that it would ballot members at O2 over potential strike action. The ballot was planned to close today and the result was also expected. 

In May, O2 announced that it was outsourcing the management of its customer services centers to Capita in a 10-year deal, expected to be worth about £1.2bn. There were fears and uncertainty over the number of workers set to transfer to Capita as well as how many redundancies would be made. 

Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary said the decision to hold a strike ballot was the right one. 

“We were forced into it because of the unusually short 41-day consultation period – completely inadequate given that this is one of the biggest outsourcing deals in UK history. The ballot definitely focused the minds of Capita and O2 and negotiations intensified following our decision to ballot and meant we were able to achieve an agreement yesterday."

He said the union has secured better protections on jobs, pay, pensions and terms and conditions than were originally on offer. 

“People will not see their salaries suffer, they'll still be eligible for promotion and pay increases as they would have at O2, their pensions are protected and they will keep a local job,” he added.

Capita has committed to maximising job security and has denied there are any foreseeable plans to downsize or close any sites. It said it will not deliberately manufacture a situation where a site is rundown for offshoring.

The UK services giant said there are no plans to close sites but will not guarantee the sites for the duration of the 10-year contract. It said if any sites do close it is committed to redeploy all staff locally.



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