BT workers are to be balloted on strike action after the firm failed to meet a union-imposed deadline for improving the welfare conditions for external workers.
There has been a long running dispute over 'worker to watcher' ratios; currently for every engineer working there are a maximum of two watching. The unions are demanding this is increased to four watching for every worker.
Their demands are based upon unacceptable workloads for the watchers. They insist that there are a multitude of tasks to be done to enable adequate watching conditions. These have been documented as tent erection, seat positioning and allocation, tea making, radio tuning (and battery changing), cafe visits, toileting and talking.This is in addition to the various tasks that they have to undertake to support the worker.
It is reported that for every 10,000 employees, there are 200 on permanent sick leave with stress related symptoms. At least two of these will never return to work due to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder); it is alleged that the two employees concerned did 15 minutes unpaid overtime as they did not realise the time due to their workload. On the day in question it was particularly warm and suncream application (which was not included in the original risk assessment or method statement)had to be undertaken without 24 hours prior notice.