BT workers to vote on strike action

Michael Carroll
10 Jun 2010

A revised pay offer from BT to the Communications Workers Union could have made matters worse, with the union now claiming it has lost trust in the telco.

A statement from the union said that, while it was willing to discuss the revised pay deal with BT, it would press ahead with balloting members on industrial action because the offer wasn’t substantially different from the original 2% deal BT put on the table.

“As we’ve made clear, 2% s unacceptable for our members as it does not reflect the reward they expect given the contribution they have made to cost savings of £1.75 billion ($2.45b) and profits of over £1 billion,” CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said in the statement.

Kerr’s comments validate reports that BT had offered to increase workers pay by 2% in 2010, and by a further 3% in 2011.

It also pledged to close call centers in India in favor of home-grown centers, the BBC reported, and halt a compulsory redundancy program, according to

However, those reports angered the union. “BT’s decision to leak their offer to the media...has also raised trust issues for us with the company,” Kerr stated.

An official BT statement confirmed only that it had made a new two-year offer to the CWU in an “attempt to break the current impasse,” and that “industrial action is in no-one’s interests.”

Around 60,000 BT staff voted to hold a strike ballot last Friday, after the CWU rejected the offer of a blanket 2% pay raise for 2010.

A CWU spokeswoman explained it was pushing for a 5% increase in wages this year, because senior BT executives had received bonuses that effectively pushed their income up by 7% overall.

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