Bonus Plans Set to Strangle BT's Openreach at Birth

There are reports in the press that BT's new Openreach division, created to help the company's rivals gain access to the nation's homes and provide broadband services, faces a showdown with unions representing the vast majority of its 25,000 engineers over performance-related pay.

The management at Openreach, which was officially launched this week, is looking to replace a three-year-old bonus scheme that affects half its staff and pays according to the number of call-outs engineers attend. It wants a new scheme that would encompass all staff.

Chief executive Steve Robertson said yesterday: "I would like to have a new scheme in place by the start of the next financial year (in April). If the old one is still in place by this time next year, I would be very disappointed."

He wants a scheme that will create a new ethos at Openreach, whose staff are drawn from BT's retail and wholesale divisions.

Openreach's own senior managers are remunerated according to the success of the business in serving the whole telecoms industry rather than the performance of the rest of BT.