O2 defends pay-for-performance offer to staff

Telecoms firm O2 has defended its stance during its annual pay negotiations after receiving heavy criticism from the Communication Workers Union (CWU).


Last week, delegates at the CWU’s Telecoms Industry Conference in Blackpool voted unanimously for “any action necessary up to and including industrial action to receive a fair and just settlement”.


The union claims many staff will receive no consolidated pay rise at all for at least seven years under current plans.


Andrew Harley, O2’s HR director, is currently engaged in ongoing discussions with the CWU about non-manager roles in order to thrash out a deal.


CWU assistant secretary Dave Johnson told the conference the issue no longer amounted to a difference of opinion simply about the money on offer to union members but was about principles and ideology.


However, a spokesperson for O2 told Personnel Today: “We’re moving away from one-size-fits-all ‘collective’ pay rises to ‘pay-for-performance’. This gives incentives for high performance by giving our best performers the biggest rewards.


“Pay-for-performance has been extremely successful in our community of managers and we want to extend it across the company. Pay-for-performance is not about saving personnel costs – our current proposals actually create a bigger total pay pool than a single across-the-board rise.”


The company explained that in some instances employees have reached the contracted maximum pay for their role and are no longer eligible for a pay rise. In these instances, it is offering individuals lump sum annual ‘bonus’ payments, depending on performance.


The company is unhappy with the way the union used the press to talk up the threat of industrial action.

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