Loo Can’t Be Serious

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The Communication Workers’ Union writes:

Bosses in Conduit/BT have introduced a new ‘Toilet Break Policy’ which seeks to police and micro-manage how and when 999 operators go to the bathroom. The announcement comes just hours after staff indicated their intention to ballot for industrial action in pursuit of fairness, decency and respect in the workplace.

… The policy states that staff must report to management before and after going for a toilet break and that only one operator is allowed to use the bathroom at one time across the country. The move has been described by staff as ‘grotesque, disgusting and insulting to a group of adults who work hard to help save lives by answering 999 calls.’

Workers are only allowed a maximum of 7 minutes during any single toilet break. If an emergency call operator requires more time, they have to ask for specific permission from their line manager.

The announcement is seen by staff as an act of retribution by a management regime that refuses to respect its employees. The emergency call workers have been threatened with severe disciplinary action if they exceed their toilet break allowance of 19 minutes for a 12-hour shift.

The 19 minutes also includes any time staff might take to recover themselves after a traumatic phone call which can regularly feature in the working day for a 999 operator.

Row as emergency call staff see toilet breaks slashed (Irish Times)

999 operators must ask permission to use toilet under new policy (RTE)

Communications Workers’ Union (Facebook)

Thanks Ruairi Creaney

UPDATE:

A Conduit Global spokesperson said:

“Conduit Global notes that in periods of industrial action, allegations can be made in which the facts are not always evident, or are done to target emotions. We are committed to a positive work environment and an open dialogue with our employees to meet their needs and those of the customers and citizens we serve. We continuously review policies and practices to uphold that and will continue to do so going forward. As part of normal business practices, we welcome feedback directly from our staff.”

“A policy on telephone usage was introduced to ensure that all three Emergency Call Answering Centres across the country were serving the Irish public 24/7 and not placing public safety at risk. Our staff were informed of this policy on Thursday 21st January, the day before Conduit Global received any communication from the Communication Workers Union in regard to industrial action.”

“Our policy covers a range of “not-ready-states” that agents can use while not waiting for 999 calls and includes DSE, Training and Call Wrap. In addition, staff have in excess of 1 hour breaks across each working day which are not included as part of the “not-ready-state” policy. While we monitor the number of staff available to handle emergency calls at all times, our staff have not been instructed to, nor is there any intention that they must, report to management before and after taking a toilet break.”

“Our policy for operators recovering and composing themselves after handling a traumatic call again is not included in any “not-ready-state” allowance or breaks. We have a clear separate policy in place to assist our operators in dealing with these situations, focusing on the welfare of the staff which includes counselling services.”

“The intention of the policy, as previously stated is to protect public safety ensuring staff are always available to take ECAS calls as well as protect the health of our staff to help them as they deliver this vital service.”

Thanks Priscilla

19 thoughts on “Loo Can’t Be Serious

  1. Markskids

    I’m actually more shocked that a 999 operator is being paid less than €11.50 an hour. They must have to hear some horrific stuff.

    I lasted 2 months in a job with this shower back in the late 90’s , looks like things haven’t changed out at east point in 15 odd years.

    1. kev

      I think the BT staff just take the initial call and hand it off to the relevant service e.g. Gardai, Fire Brigade

      1. Major Thrill

        Regardless they still have to deal with people (however briefly) at the worst point in their lives and do their very best for them. (I’m not assuming you’re belittling their contribution in any way mind you).

  2. Walter-Ego

    The race to the bottom with regards workers rights, continues. We’ll all be raising our hands to ask permission to go to the toilet, if our Government succeeds in passing TTIP.

  3. Anne

    “staff must report to management before and after going for a toilet break”

    What do they have to report? Did me business boss, number two-zees. All turned out ok?

    I worked in a call centre one time where you had to program in a code in the phone to go for a poo.

    You weren’t allowed more than 10 minutes poo time in any given day. You couldn’t accumulate the poo time if you didn’t have any business to do on a particular day either.
    The trip to and from the bathroom being about 2-3 mins, to wash and dry your hands you’re talking another 1-2 mins, so that left with you 5 mins to do your business. That’s all fine when it’s a ghosty…(that’s when you wipe and you see nothing), which wasn’t always the case. Lunch was often dodgy in the place .. we’ll say no more.

    Going for a poo was a very stressful event. You were literally doing a Flo Jo strint to and from, to make sure you logged back in on time. You wouldn’t glance at anyone for fear they’d say hello, and try to chat to you…no time for this when your business is being timed.

    I was driving into work about 3 – 4 weeks in and I drove around the roundabout and back home.

    It was redacted’s poohole after he sold it on.. don’t know how I lasted 3 weeks.

    1. Dόn Pídgéόní

      Forcing a sh** is bad for your health, everyone should have the right to poo in peace and quiet.

      Though not the people who use the loo down the corridor from me – they are animals and, as is only right, should sh** in the bushes outside.

  4. SB

    At first glance this is disgraceful and degrading – but then you wonder what might happen if you ring 999 and no-one answers because everyone is reading the paper in the jax after a heavy night the night before. Not saying I agree with the policy, mind.

    1. Rob_G

      I thought the same thing when I read the headline initially – but given that it follows hot on the heels of a union ballot…

  5. Kolmo

    Who got the middle-management bonus for having the balls to introduce this new rule to woefully paid staff – he/she will go far…
    Fupp or be Fupped management policy. Animals.

  6. fluffybiscuits

    This is pure victimisation from BT and what about those with medical problems? There is legislation around that. CWU will hopefully take them over hot coals for this. Under the law (General Application Regs) they are suppose to take breaks away from their screen regularly and this could include a toilet break. BT have taken a metaphorical shotgun and not just shot themselves in the foot but are in the process of removing below the knees as well. These guys need more than 11.50 an hour, that job is a thankless job. Its what happens when you privatise sections of the emergency services…

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