Union ballots for BT strike action


The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has today called on its members working for BT to ballot for industrial action negotiations on pay concluded in failure.

The CWU had given BT until this morning (June 4) to return to the negotiation table to discuss increasing its initial offer of a two per cent annual pay rise for its non management staff.

But BT, who recently reported annual profits of more than £1 billion and handed out “substantial” bonusses, including £1.2 million to chief executive Ian Livingston, refused to negotiate.

The CWU said it helped BT make more than £1.75 billion in savings last year, which coincided with 30,000 redundancies and a non managemnet pay freeze across the business.

All 55,000 BT CWU members will now be given the opportunity to vote for or against on industrial action which could result in the first strike at BT since 1987.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “We’re obviously very disappointed that BT has not improved its pay offer of two per cent despite their healthy profits this year.
“We now have no option than to put the wheels in motion to ballot all appropriate members in BT for strike action, which would be the first action of its kind in over 20 years.”

A BT spokespeson said: “We are disappointed by the CWU’s decision to call a ballot but our door remains open. It is in no-one’s interest for industrial action to take place and we wrote to the union last week to say we remain willing to meet with them.

“Our final offer is fair, realistic and more generous than those they have accepted elsewhere. This offer could see their lowest paid members receive up to 5.4 per cent in pay and bonuses with some thousands of staff also enjoying a second pay rise in October.”