CWU warns O2 about continued below-inflation pay rises


Union accepts 2013 offer of 2.5 per cent but warns ‘low’ rises will not be tolerated by members indefinitely

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has warned O2 not to push staff goodwill too far in future pay negotiations after accepting a below-inflation increase of 2.5 per cent for this year.

Following a ballot of members in March on whether to accept the offer, which is slightly below the 2.8 per cent rate of inflation recorded in February, only 11 per cent voted against.

The union concluded the deal was a reflection of the tough economic environment but warned this did not mean below-inflation rises would be accepted in the future.

CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge said: “Our members have voted pragmatically to accept this offer, but O2 would be making a huge mistake if it interpreted this result as indicating that it can carry on indefinitely with below inflation awards.

“The CWU has taken on board the challenges the business faces, the difficult economic backdrop and the fact this is a company in total transformation – but O2 needs to recognise that it can only push staff goodwill so far, and will need to reflect on that before next year’s pay round.

“At the end of the day, you have to take stock of the context in which the pay negotiations take place – and the fact is that, in the current climate, and given the challenges O2 faces, this is a reasonably decent pay award compared with what’s going on in the market at the moment.

“It was certainly the best that could be achieved by negotiation, and represented significant movement by the company on earlier positions which were totally unacceptable to the union.”