Group executive committee (GEC) negotiators met with CMG on 18 November to discuss the telephony trial in CMG which commenced on 11 November.
Members concerned about having to stay until 8pm
The GEC highlighted we have had a number of concerns from members regarding the implementation of the trial that we believe could have been avoided had we had the opportunity to discuss in advance. We told CMG we have had feedback from members who are frustrated that despite the phone lines being closed earlier, they are being told they must work until 8pm on their fixed end time, rather than having the flexibility to leave after 7:30 once the last call was cleared from the queues as happened previously.
Provide examples to raise with CMG
We explained to CMG we believe this is a detriment to our members and agreed to ask members to provide examples of where they are still being required to work until 8pm rather than managers applying flexibility to allow them to leave early where there is no longer demand (i.e. calls, after call work or other urgent work that needs to be completed at that particular time). Members are asked to speak to their local branch in the first instance if they are being kept to 8pm unreasonably. Branches will then escalate any unresolved examples to Leeds@pcs.org.uk to highlight to CMG.
GEC calls for more flexibility for members
The GEC have argued CMG should use the opportunity of the trial to demonstrate goodwill to members and offer additional flexibility to members after the phones are turned off at 6pm. Whilst we know members understand there is a job to be done and want to provide a good service to the public, that by closing the phone lines earlier this is an opportunity for CMG to relax the requirements for staff to stay late where they want to leave early and have cleared the urgent work. This in turn would mean they are available at the busier times for calls and give them the ability to stay late to process complex cases without the distraction of the phone ringing after 6pm, when this is the best use of their time.
Better engagement means happier staff and better service to the public
The GEC argued this would lead to a benefit in terms of staff engagement and morale. It would also show that they are actively listening to members’ concerns when raised in consultation with the union. We believe this would be a win/win and help to deliver both a happier workforce and therefore a better service to the public.
CMG have agreed to take away the concerns that we have raised and to consider their communications with staff around flexibility. They have also agreed to fully consult the GEC on the outcome of the trial before any decisions are made regarding the next steps.