Monday, 13 August 2007

Supply Chain Management Add eBay To Preferred Supplier List

An article in The Register today explains that Vodafone is now buying secondhand Nokia 9210’s on eBay to sell to deaf customers using the service provided in association with the RNID.

Vodafone claim in their 2006-2007 Corporate Responsibility report that a key element of their strategy is” Reducing preventable exclusion through accessible features and services for disabled and elderly people, and other customers who find it difficult to use mobile phones”. When the RNID service was launched Vodafone was the forerunning in providing such services, now the company appear to be the forerunner in producing glossy booklets and good intentions and somewhat trailing in delivery.

It is frankly embarrassing that we work for a mobile phone operator forced to scrounge second hand phones to support a service that was once a flagship.

You would think that it wouldn’t be beyond a global operator with over 200 million customers to ask a manufacturer to design a handset fit for 2007 specifically for the RNID service. Alternatively I’m sure the Nokia 9210 would have remained in production had Vodafone offered the service to the deaf community around the world and ordered a sufficient number of handsets to make this viable.

Connect members are a pragmatic bunch, we haven’t been asked how Vodafone best continue the service but we do have a solution. A slightly customised Blackberry running Telnet emulator and a GUI to make it look marketable would provide a snazzy platform to offer a growing target audience a service suitable for the 21st century.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Deception in Regional Operations

This week Connect members in Regional Operations have been asked to complete a form providing personal details such as their employment history, education and it even has a space for a picture! It has the appearance of the type of form you would complete when applying for a job.

What is most concerning is that workers were told that HR was taking this information from all Vodafone employees as part of a routine survey. Only Regional Ops staff are been requested to provide this information, no one in any other part of the business has been approached.

So the question is why do the company want this information? We have the right to know what the purpose of collecting this kind of personal information is. It seems likely that the real reason is in some way related to the Orange/Vodafone RAN share project. The company should give us all the common courtesy of honesty.

We encourage Connect members not to complete this form at this stage, instead contact your rep for advice.

More Dirty Tricks by Vodacom

Earlier this week we thought that the fight by Vodacom South Africa workers had reached a conclusion after the company agreed a settlement with CWU. However on the 7th of August 13 of our colleagues returned to work to be told that they were suspended from their duties without explanation.

Many of those suspended are active union leaders, arrest warrants have been issued against 8 of these on instruction from Vodacom and at least 5 have already spent time in prison for allegedly breaching picketing rules during peaceful protests.

Vodacom are now refusing to meet with the union, despite their recent “agreement”

If you are concerned by the persecution our fellow workers at another Vodafone subsidiary please take the time write to Vodacom’s CEO, Alan Knott-Craig care of UNI, the global union which Connect is a member of.

You can keep up to date with developments in South Africa at the CWU-Vodacom blog.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Connect makes breakthrough to recognition in Vodafone

Connect is now the recognised union for both Regional Operations North and Regional Operations South in Vodafone.

Connect applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for recognition under the statutory rules, and the CAC confirmed that a majority of employees were union members. Once Vodafone realised this, the company notified Connect and the CAC that they were prepared to recognise Connect in Regional Operations South. The CAC had already awarded Connect recognition in Regional Operations North.

Recognition means that Connect will represent Regional Operations North and South employees in negotiations and consultation with Vodafone. Connect members will have a truly independent voice at work.

Vodafone employees covered by union recognition will all be covered by Connect's negotiations, and anyone who is not already a Connect member can join today to get a real say in their working lives.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Victory for Workers in Vodacom South Africa

Vodacom, a joint venture between Vodafone and Telkom South Africa has finally chosen to respect the law and recognise CWU South Africa. This brings to an end the month long strike by workers.

The company was offering executives bonus payments for keeping union membership in their divisions below 10%, this has now been withdrawn.

Vodafone promotes its corporate and social responsibility ethos, however the conduct of Vodacom during this dispute as fallen far below what would be expected of an associate of a company that claims such high standards. This includes ordering the arrest of employees engaged in peaceful protests.

Connect members demand that Vodafone adheres to the highest standards in the treatment of employees in every market where the company operates.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Don't Let Your Blackberry Make You Crumble

Last week Tim Yates, Vodafone’s Chief marketing Officer sent out the following memo to everyone in Vodafone:-

I’d like to announce some changes to our email ‘out of office policy which will take effect immediately.

The reason why we are doing this is to make sure we are all aligned and consistent with our new brand – Make the most of now – and to take every opportunity to promote our solutions to work on the move.

As we are now all mostly able to work on the move, our ‘out of office’ notification should only be used if we are on annual leave or during illness and not if we are out of the office in meetings or on training courses. I’d also like to remind you that it is company policy not to include the dates we are away, for security reasons.

In order to achieve a consistent approach, the following is now the approved wording for our out of office notification

I’m now away on annual leave. I appreciate that with Vodafone’s mobile working solutions you can contact me just about anytime, anywhere. However, in my absence if you need a swift response you may wish to contact []

Please make sure you change your current out of office notification to the one detailed above. Many thanks for your support.

Tim Yates
Chief Marketing Officer

The underlying message here is clear, Vodafone expects it’s people to continue to perform their day job even if your away on a training course or out in meetings all day. Otherwise those around us will suffer as they have no way of knowing you’re away from your desk.

The only way this can be achieved is by doing the day job either during breaks or in your own time at the end of the day. This is completely unacceptable and is essentially working for free. Vodafone is not a charity, the company makes serious money and if there is a need to employ more people to cover for meetings and training courses they can afford it.

Connect are running WORKTIMEyourtime, our campaign for a better work life balance. If you are under pressure to work in your own time you should contact Connect immediately for advice. Here are some tips specifically for Vodafone workers:

1 Turn off your work phone when you leave the building, unless you’re paid to be on stand by there’s no need for anyone to be able to contact you in your free time.
2 Turn off your Blackberry when you leave the office, this avoids temptation to read emails when you hear the buzz.
3 Use a separate phone for personal use so your friends and family can contact you but work can’t.
4 If you're out of the office for reasons other than annual leave, and there is a complaint as to why you haven’t responded refer the complainant to Tim Yates message prohibiting sensible use of out of office response.