17 February 2011
During the negotiations on Service Delivery Transformation, Openreach made a commitment from that Flex would not be used until team members could have visibility of accrued or deficit amounts. However the intended system has been beset with technical problems preventing its use for some considerable time.
CWU Head Office has now been advised that a pilot will be run in Exeter for five weeks commencing 21 February 2011. The pilot is to fully test the system and processes prior to full roll-out.
It is Openreach's belief that flex will be utilised to extend days by minutes to complete jobs rather than block one hour slots.
There is a difference of interpretation on how team members are recompensed when the time on a task exceeds one hour. This has still to be resolved.
Based on previous experience and whatever issues the pilot throws up, the CWU intends to seek a Code of Conduct for the use of flex prior to full roll-out to avoid any ambiguity.
The CWU has also raised concern that carrying previously flex balances into the trial may skew results. Openreach has responded stating that the pilot needs to test all aspects of the flex processes and systems prior to roll-out. Since there will be many team members who have a flex balance (either positive or negative), managing these will be a key factor when they are unfrozen during national roll-out.
We are assured that the actual amount of flex used in the pilot can still be tracked and demonstrated.