Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have accepted a proposed deal for workers transferring from BT to corporate reseller Computacenter in an outsourcing desktop services deal.
"We did not succeed in preventing the transfer of the data and desktop services [but] we have put together a package of measures on job security and pensions that go way beyond the normal Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment [Tupe] provisions," said Ian Cuthbert, assistant secretary at the CWU.
BT explained that it had been involved in lengthy negotiations with the CWU and Computacenter to try and iron out the areas of concern, mainly on pensions and job security.
Craig Rowland, director of business information systems at BT, said: "We have come up with a tripartite agreement between the three companies involved.
"This deal means that, in the unlikely event of redundancies, the transferred workers would receive similar jobs back at BT or access to [redundancy] payments."
The safety net agreement will last for six years. "We have also agreed a pension scheme with Computacenter broadly comparable with BT's," Rowland confirmed.
The rights of workers in outsourcing deals is always an issue to be considered "but each deal is unique", he added.
Since news broke of the deal in February there has been wrangling between the CWU and BT over the pensions and job security of the 362 BT workers to be transferred to Computacenter under Tupe regulations.
The affected BT workers were asked by the CWU whether they would be prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike, and a majority voted in the affirmative.
"We will, of course, continue to represent these members in Computacenter and hope that the expected growth [at Computacenter] materialises," said Cuthbert.
The final agreement will see Computacenter provide IT support and services for about 100,000 BT desktops across the UK. The deal is worth £150m in services and £170m in product supply over five years.
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