We are writing to all CWU members to update you on the Coronavirus crisis and meetings that have taken place with senior managers in BT.
CWU members across the country are in contact with the union at all levels expressing their major concerns and anxiety about whether or not it is safe to continue working during the Coronavirus crisis.
We want you to know that we have taken a firm position with BT that they must enforce Government and UK Public Health advice in order to protect key workers from the virus. We believe that BT should be following the most stringent and cautious measures to ensure its employees are protected. However, we acknowledge that Government advice and the advice of the UK Public Health Authorities, has not been clear enough and is creating confusion for workers across the country, most notably for key workers. This has meant employers aren’t modifying the workplace enough to protect vulnerable employees and adhering to the recommended social distancing measures.
We have set out six key recommendations that we believe BT should be providing to our members to ensure their wellbeing and safety as well as protecting their families and society at large. These are:
- BT should take the lead in assisting members to work from home wherever possible
- BT must apply the Government guidelines for social distancing in offices, exchanges and in the field. Social distancing is mandatory not optional
- BT should be following the most rigorous and regular cleaning processes in shared spaces and provide hand-washing facilities or hand sanitiser for every member no matter what the cost.
- BT should respect and support pregnant employees and therefore they should be given the facility to work from home or not be required to come into work
- Members living with those who fall into the ‘extremely vulnerable’ (1.5m who have received a letter from the NHS) should be given the facility to work from home or not be required to come into work
- BT should withdraw all non-essential work and key workers should only be required to carry out critical work that assists the vulnerable and keeps existing customers connected
We are calling on the above measures to be implemented with immediate effect. The CWU will update our members on the progress of our negotiations. If any BT member does not feel safe at work for any reason they should inform their local branch or workplace representative or email email@example.com
Deputy General Secretary