Geraint Davies MP calls on BT to enable workers to work from home to reduce coronavirus risk
Geraint Davies MP for Swansea West has written to BT Group Wales Director Nick Speed “to take immediate steps to enable BT workers at BT Tower to work from home – if not all of them the majority of them.”
Said Geraint Davies MP in his letter
“As many businesses are now working from home and the DVLA is now operating a skeleton staff it’s important that BT like others do more to protect its staff.
“Many employees have been in contact as social distancing of a two metre radius is not being observed, some workers have been exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus and stricter cleaning standards have not been in place. Hundreds of people working together risks widespread infection across the workforce and their families putting further pressure on our NHS. The BT response has been one of threats of disciplinary action even for those who have clinically vulnerable family members at home.
“I understand that BT published in an HR document before they were designated as essential workers that “should Social Distancing come into force, then the company are in a position to implement this”
I understand this would cost £170,000 to provide workers with BT laptops with internet ‘soft phone’ services through the laptops. Some services like HR and Payroll and the network mobile team at Warrington are already working from home.
“Approximately 100 staff are working in non essential roles in BT Tower Swansea. The sales and retentions teams are still open and operating as normal including selling broadband contracts and retaining customers. Staff are still under pressure to sell products and have targets.
“One employee said “Since the government lockdown has come in place I have taken more calls about free gifts as part of orders, roaming queries and billing queries than I have service affecting faults. Myself and my colleagues keep asking ourselves is this question about when a BT gift card expires really worth putting our health and the health of our loved ones at risk?”
“I understand that other mobile providers are changing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. In BT mobile sales working hours have not changed and no effort has been made to stem the flow of non-urgent calls. This puts workers, their families and our NHS at unnecessary risk from COVID19.
“I look forward to hearing what action BT will be taking to reduce this risk by enabling people to work from home.
“The costs of such change are small in relation to the public risks across the UK and should be affordable from a company with a 2019 turnover of £24 billion.
He added “The CEO Marc Allera of BT consumer brands EE, BT and Plusnet sent a video message of himself working from home to workers. I’m glad he’s safe and hope that technology will be deployed to maximise safety to all other employees too.”