Signs are that it will be some time before details of the separation of Openreach into a subsidiary company are finalised, as there are a number of legal issues under way. Meanwhile BT logos are being removed from Openreach vehicles in preparation.
Details are still awaited for areas that BT are looking at for potential cuts to BT pensions. The company will be tabling a list of ways they believe costs can be cut to allow them to divert money to shareholders. BT aims to agree cuts by 2018.
The disciplinary regime at Sky continues to stimulate union membership applications. CWU cannot stop the company’s general approach but we can advise and represent at hearings. This can be critical to longer term job security. The branch is currently dealing with 12 real or potential Tribunal cases, and several legal cases relating to sickness/attendance.
Cuts will help pay for the lavish new building called Sky Central, part of the HQ complex in West London. Cleaning and security staff, employed by contractor MITIE, are being subjected to redundancies.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox planned £11.7 billion takeover of Sky (from the current 39% ownership) has slowed again as the government may refer the issue to competition authorities. Issues are still ‘standards’ and ‘media plurality’. Last try was blown apart by the 2011 phone hacking scandal. There is also concern that Sky News could turn into ‘Trump tv’ along the lines of Fox news in the USA.