Vodafone reorganisation and job losses in Regional Operations

20 03 2008

Information About Vodafone Redundancies

Connect is aware of the major reorganisation announced yesterday by Vodafone.

This reorganisation will have a significant impact across the business and may result in the loss of 450 roles.    

Connect understands that a reorganisation is proposed in Regional Operations and we will be seeking an early meeting with the company to understand the implications of this.

At the same time we are aware that a number of individuals have been impacted directly in Regional Operations.  Those ‘at risk’ of redundancy will have now been individually informed.

Members may also be aware that across the business there appear to have been a number of dismissals not for the purposes of redundancy timed to coincide with these ‘at risk’ announcements.  Connect has made it clear to the company that this is completely unacceptable and will be raising this in the strongest terms in the discussions within the bargaining unit.

As your recognised union Connect will meet to kick off a meaningful consultation process with the company at the earliest opportunity.  In doing so we will need to represent the views of our members.  Please contact one of your Connect representatives with your comments.

Peppone Comments

Very suspicious that there appear to have been “Dismissals” at the same time as  a redundancy exercise.


Taxation of Newstart payments for those who left BT and went straight into retirement

10 03 2008

Taxation of Newstart payments for those who left BT and went straight into retirement

If you left BT under the Newstart scheme in the period March 2001 to December 2007 and were taxed in full on your Newstart leaver payment, then you should find the following information to your benefit.

HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) has reviewed its approach to the taxation of leaver payments in respect of those who took Newstart and then went straight into retirement. The approach that has been applied since 2001 is that the Newstart leaver payments of those leaving BT and going straight into retirement have been taxed in full (whereas those who do not go into retirement straight away have the first £30,000 of their leaver payment paid tax-free). If this situation applies to you, this review therefore means that you may be able to reclaim the tax paid on the first £30,000 of your Newstart leaver payment.

BT has been informed of HMRC’s decision to review its approach and BT has identified from its own records all those BT Pensioners who have been taxed in full on their Newstart leaver payments. It has passed these details on to HMRC. BT is writing to all those affected, advising them of the change of approach and informing them that HMRC will be contacting them directly by the end of April 2008. In the meantime, individuals in this situation need take no further action until the receipt of the letter from HMRC.

We understand that HMRC may pay a ‘repayment supplement’ to individuals in respect of interest on the sums refunded. We are also aware that individuals seeking a reclaim of tax from HMRC usually must do so within five years of the end of the tax year relating to the sums being reclaimed; as far as we are concerned, HMRC’s new approach affects all those leaving on Newstart terms and going straight into retirement since 2001 and that no-one therefore should be refused a rebate on the grounds that they are out of time. Refunds of tax in this situation would appear also to encompass those who have died in retirement and whose estate should thus benefit from any refund which is available.

Connect notes from BT’s letter that BT is not able to provide any further information. Connect is in the same position and cannot supply any further details. Furthermore, we regard that taxation is between the individual and HMRC, and is not something on which Connect can provide advice or representation. The taxation of BT pensions is handled by:

HMRC North Wales Area Compliance
Plas Gororau
Ellice Way
Wrexham Technology Park
LL13 7YY

Individuals should therefore deal directly with the HMRC tax office in Wrexham in this respect. If you are in this situation and have not heard from HMRC by the beginning of May, you should contact HMRC directly.

We should reiterate that the only people affected by this change of approach are those who have left BT on Newstart and who went straight into retirement (i.e. those who drew their BTPS pension immediately on leaving BT). The vast majority of Newstart leavers will not have drawn their pensions immediately; they will thus have received the first £30,000 of their Newstart leaver payment tax-free and will not be entitled to any further refund.

Finally, Connect would like to pay tribute to the work of the group of BT Pensioners who, by their dogged pursuit of this issue over the past 6 years, have brought about this review of HMRC’s approach to the taxation of Newstart leaver payments.

Connect Rejects Unacceptable Pay Offer by BT

6 03 2008

A different part of the Union – it looks like the pay round is getting interesting this year.

Following pay negotiations between BT and Connect, BT has now made its final offer on 2007-2008 pay to Band 1 staff, but has so far chosen not to make any offer to Bands 2 and 3.

Connect considers the offer that has been made to Band 1 staff to be unacceptable and is disappointed that the company has not chosen to make an offer for members at Bands 2 and 3.  The final say on what happens next rests with Connect members.

Connect has a pay campaign site the make bt pay fair site.



Bloggers of the world, unite!

19 01 2008

The Columbia Journalism has an interesting article about unionizing blogger’s here the NUJ recently admitted it first fulltime blogger member though there of course have been union members working in new media for a long time some of the MICRONET and PRESTEL editors for example.

Though i do wish they drop the Guild name aspects that hark back old style craft unions which isn’t going to help get bloggers organised – the usual silly comments of course on slashdot but a few sensible comments.

Of course one could argue that for technical bloggers and new media workers Connect would be a better fit but maybe i’me biased 🙂

Want me to send you a membership form Robert 🙂

WGA using Youtube to support strike campaign

20 12 2007

As you would expect the WGA are making use of youtube to post videos to suport the strike. Hers one featuring the Famous Ninja of ask a ninja fame.

thanks to Joninit for the initial tip

Company Cars – Advisory Fuel Rates from 1 January 2008

4 12 2007

HM Revenue and Customs have revised the advisory fuel rates payable for company cars. The new rates are copied below and full information can be found on their website. The new rates will apply from 1st January 2008.http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cars/advisory_fuel_current.htm

Engine Size Petrol Diesel LPG
1400cc or less 11p 11p 7p
1401cc to 2000cc 13p 11p 8p
Over 2000cc 19p 14p  

News for Home-based IT and Comms Workers

30 11 2007


Have you Connected yet?

Connect is the union representing managers and professionals in the it and coms industry – we negotiate all terms and conditions of employment and provide our members with individual advice and representation when they need it. Connect members make up the majority of BT’s managers and professionals and in many other companies – they use the union as a valuable network for contact and support, and as a channel for expressing their views to Employers on important issues. The more members we have, the more effective we can be – so this edition of Connect’s newsletter for home-based workers is being sent you to give you the opportunity to be part of Connect. To join the union on-line,  just go to www.connectuk.org/join and get Connected from today!

Home-based workers can stop shivering – for now!

Well, thank goodness Spring has sprung at last, after a winter when both Employers and the Government refused to respond to Connect’s representations on increasing heating and lighting payments for home-based workers. Despite the evidence Connect put forward, and despite double-figure increases in domestic energy prices, the HMRC fuel allowance remains stuck at £26 per quarter. And BT and other employers won’t go beyond it, although they could. Perhaps the corporate crystal ball predicted that oil prices would be dropping in the near future? Or perhaps they think global warming just means we can all turn down our central heating? If the heating allowance doesn’t go up, I can foresee a Connect claim for cardigan allowances …


We’re light on our carbon feet

We don’t generate travel-to-work emissions, we don’t aggravate congestion, our workplaces don’t demand ‘cosmetic’ heating and lighting for big, flash public spaces – we home-based workers are doing our bit to save the planet. Economic development agencies reckon that if everyone worked like us – or even a bit like us – there would be huge benefits for the environment, as well as increased productivity and less stress. Surveys indicate that the main factor holding back the spread of home-based working is a good old-fashioned lack of trust and people management know-how from employers – they’ve seen all the evidence, but they’re too afraid to make the change. What price the polar ice caps?

Home-based working under threat?

Why is it that every now and then someone in a company gets it in their head that the only way to work is to have people in the same team under the safe roof? Or that home-based workers are exercising some undeserved privilege, rather than working under an agreed arrangement that suits both us and our employer? BT and other good Employers actively promotes home-based working to other companies, on the basis of its own successful record, but it seems not everyone in the company is convinced. Connect has had to reiterate the case for home-based working in a few companies recently – fortunately, the union has been successful in reminding senior managers of how much the company benefits and how foolish it would be to try and turn the clock back. If you need help or advice, e-mail union@connectuk.org with your employer and a brief description of your concern.