BT Group Votes For Strike Action

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ANDY KERR, Deputy General Secretary and DAVE WARD, General Secretary at their Press Conference yesterday

CWU general secretary Dave Ward, announced yesterday at a press conference that a vote for strike action was carried by CWU members in the BT Telecoms group by a huge 20,358 votes for with only 902 votes against, which was a 95.8% majority out of a turn out of 74%.

Call centre workers have voted for the first national call centre strike in British history, as Communication Workers Union (CWU) members at BT Group – notably including 30,000 Openreach engineers – have voted to strike against an ‘unjust’, ‘unsustainable’ pay imposition.

The dispute relates to BT workers opposing company management’s imposition of an incredibly low flat-rate pay rise.

Earlier this year, BT offered and implemented a £1,500 per year pay increase for employees.

In the context of RPI inflation levels hitting 11.7% last month, this is a dramatic real-terms pay cut.

It is also in the context of the company making £1.3 billion in annual profit, with the company’s CEO, Philip Jansen, gaining a £3.5 million pay package – a 32% increase.

Commenting, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: ‘For the first time in nearly four decades, we are faced with national level strike action across BT Group.

‘Our membership faced the challenges of home working, high staff turnover, and a real culture of fear created by senior management to deliver an overwhelming show of support for strike action.

‘I want to pay specific tribute to our call centre workers in BT, who have delivered a historic move by voting for the first – and biggest – national call centre workers strike in British history.

‘Call centre workers are some of the most casualised and isolated workforces in this country. They are notoriously difficult to organise, and the unprecedented vote they have taken today demonstrates the anger so many people feel in this country today.

‘Our members were never going to accept imposition. BT Group thought they could get away with bullying treatment – they were wrong.

‘These workers kept this country connected during the pandemic. Without CWU members working across BT Group, there would have been no home-working revolution.’