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Manx Telecom pay talks hit the buffers

The CWU has vowed to keep fighting for a proper 2020 pay review at Manx Telecom following the company’s unilateral decision to impose an effective pay freeze.

After three months of exceptionally tough negotiations – which began with a face-to-face meeting on March 5, but have been conducted  by video conference since lockdown was imposed – talks hit the buffers last Thursday (May 28) when the company definitively confirmed it would not be budging its position, rendering further discussions futile at this point in time.

With the Isle of Man-based telecommunications provider citing financial pressures stemming from COVID-19 as the reason for its decision, the CWU has forcefully pointed out the contradiction of that stance with bullish pre-pandemic statements by management about the success of the company both locally and globally.

The union has also highlighted the fact  that the very employees who are now facing the prospect of real-term pay cuts (once inflation is taken into account) have shown unprecedented flexibility in embracing new ways of working to keep vital communication networks up and running in their capacity as ‘key workers’.

Responding to management claims that its position on pay would  mitigate the impact that coronavirus will have on the number of people the company can employ going forward, assistant secretary Davie Bowman said: “Definitive statements about job security would have been a lot more welcome if they gave our members genuine certainty about their and their families’ future.

“It’s hard not to contrast Manx Telecom’s current position with the recent ‘Kick Start’ events setting out how successful  the company was both on the island and globally and the massive contribution employees had made to that success.

“While the CWU does, of course, appreciate the significant challenges presented for the company and those it serves both on the island and globally by the unique circumstances we are in, it’s regrettable that management has moved so swiftly moved to a position where the efforts of staff, both prior to and during the current pandemic, have been overlooked at best and, at worst, ignored.”

Stressing that Manx Telecom’s efforts to ensure staff safety during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had been impressive, Davie continued: “Management must appreciate, however, that many of those we represent have made major changes in the manner in which they work, or the work they do. That, and the way employees across the board have responded to the challenges posed by being ‘key workers’ in a pandemic situation, surely deserves recognition too.

“As such we have told the company in no uncertain terms that the CWU cannot accept a pay freeze for our Manx Telecom members in 2020, and that the union therefore reserves the right to revisit this issue in the coming months as the pandemic eases and the world begins to adjust to the ‘new normal’, whatever that may be.”

  • The CWU’s Isle of Man Telecoms branch is in the process of organising a special ‘virtual’ members meeting to discuss the current impasse on pay and various other issues on the island – and all members are urged to participate. Log-in details will be supplied as soon as the date and time is finalised.

Posted: 7th June 2020

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