Greetings to all of our members and Happy New Year!
As we reflect on the past year and look forward to another delightful trip around the sun, it’s clear that our journey through 2023 has been both challenging and rewarding. Let’s take a moment to revisit some of the key moments and achievements of the CWU and the Northern Ireland Telecoms Branch in 2023.
1. Legal Actions and Collective Bargaining: 2023 saw the CWU take decisive legal action on behalf of our Rivus members, demonstrating our Union’s commitment to justice. And because we prefer our jobs like our tea – secure and strong – redundancy mitigation topped the agenda at VMO2, highlighting the importance of worker representation.
2. Pay Deals:
The BT Pay Rise for 2023 & 2024 was finalised and agreed, presenting a multi-year deal aimed at fair compensation against current and future inflation.
- A 2.5% pay increase that is fully consolidated and pensionable from 1stSeptember 2023 – which together with the £1500 received on 1 January 23, represents between a 5.8% -9.65% pay rise.
- A further 4% pay increase that is fully consolidated and pensionable from 1st April 2024.
A landmark BTPSA pay deal was secured, averaging a 9.4% increase in 2023. This achievement underscores our dedication to improving workers’ livelihoods.
CWU members at CBRE overwhelmingly accepted a pay deal that brought significant improvements:
- The 2023 CWU-negotiated pay deal for CBRE members includes a minimum 8% pay rise for roles such as engineers, fabric technicians, and helpdesk advisers on the outsourced facilities services provider’s BT contract. Additionally, the deal features an uplift in the minimum salary from £22,000 to £24,100, an increase of over 9.55%. A review of engineering salaries also led to the introduction of a minimum salary for each role, with immediate uplifts for members below this amount.
In 2023, Airwave members overwhelmingly approved a single-year pay deal, delivering a 5.3% across-the-board increase.
- The agreement also includes a commitment from the company to address employee concerns, such as the need for more training opportunities and more flexible working arrangements, including work-from-home options where appropriate
The ISS pay deal for 2023, overwhelmingly accepted by CWU members, was worth 8.45% for most.
- The pay offer was for an 11-month period and covered over a thousand housekeepers and security guards on the outsourced facilities services provider’s BT contract.
- Provided a fully consolidated rise of 85p-per-hour.
- Included two additional weeks of backdated pay, effectively from April 17, due to the retrospective application of the Real Living Wage uplift.
The Santander pay deal for 2023 was negotiated by the CWU to address the cost of living crisis, gaining substantial member support.
- The deal secures a minimum pay award of the greater of 6% or £2,000 (pro-rata for part-timers) for all S1-5 grade employees, including those previously in Santander Technology
Nearly nine out of ten members voted to accept the CWU-brokered Virgin Media O2 pay deal in 2023.
- The deal ensures fully consolidated pay rises in excess of 7, 8, or 9% for all CWU represented grade employees.
- A cash lump sum of £400 was also paid in June.
- An eleventh-hour agreement by management added an extra 0.5% consolidated award for individuals without automatic pay progression arrangements.
Members working for SPS in BT mailrooms voted to accept fully consolidated pay rises of 13.5% for those paid under £11 an hour and 10.1% for everyone else.
- The deal applies to all roles within the scope of the Recognition Agreement for collective bargaining on pay
The 2023 RMPFSL pay and associated issues agreement marked a considerable step forward in terms of pay and the harmonisation for RMPFSL members with the rest of the Royal Mail Group, on maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.
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3. Pay and Job Security Negotiations: 2023 saw significant developments in pay and job security. There were assurances demanded on job security across Capita’s VMO2 contract amidst redundancy announcements.
4. Events and Rallies: Our branch calendar was filled with impactful events like the Workers Demand Better Rally, the May Day Rally, the Unison NI Smartpass Rally, and the Young Workers Pizza Night – because who says no to pizza?. These gatherings not only fostered community spirit but also amplified our collective voice on crucial issues.
5. Retired Members’ Activities: Our retired members, proving that age is just a number, made their voices heard through active participation at events like the Retired Members Conference and the Translink Smart Pass Rally, showcasing the ongoing engagement and contribution of our experienced comrades.
6. Inclusivity and Solidarity: With our hearts and flags out, the Branch showed its unwavering support for inclusivity and solidarity, attending events such as Omagh Pride and the TUC Anti-Racism Activist Network event, amongst others, reinforcing our commitment to a diverse and united workforce.
7. Christmas charity donations: In the true spirit of giving, our union has collectively contributed £5,000 to local charities, making a significant impact in the lives of those in our communities during the festive season.
Each section of the branch contributed thoughtfully:
- North Section supported Foyle Foodbank with £1,000.
- South Section donated to Portadown Foodbank, South Down Hospice, and Aware, totalling £1,000.
- East Section contributed £500 each to The Welcome Organisation and Trocaire.
- West Section aided Enniskillen Foodbank and 1st Housing Aid with £500 each.
- Retired Members supported multiple charities including Enniskillen Women’s Aid, Life After, PIP Newry, Foyle Foodbank, Ballymena Women’s Aid, and Marie Curie Hospice, collectively donating £1,000.
These contributions symbolise more than financial aid; they represent the heart and solidarity of our union, showing that we stand together not just in workplaces, but in uplifting our wider communities.
1. Rallies and Demonstrations: As a branch we took part in several rallies, including the No Going Back Rally, Workers Demand Better rallies, and Health & Education rally, demonstrating the union’s active role in public demonstrations for various causes.
2. AGMs and Member Engagements: Our Branch AGM, the Young Workers Conference and Retired Members Conference were conducted, ensuring that different sections of the membership were engaged and their voices heard.
3. Special Campaigns and Days: The branch participated in campaigns like International Women’s Day and the Workers Demand Better campaign, highlighting its commitment to broader social and economic issues.
And that’s a wrap! As we close the chapter on 2023, we want to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to supporting our members and advocating for workers’ rights. The challenges we faced have only strengthened our resolve to continue this vital work in the coming year. Together, we will strive for fairness, justice, and better working conditions for all. Here’s to a united and successful 2024!
CWU NITB Branch Secretary
CWU NITB Branch Chair
CWU NITB Branch Committee