CWU Backed UK BT Workers to Strike Again on Aug 30th and 31st –

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has today announced that up to 38,000 of BT and Openreach’s unionised workers, as part of their ongoing pay dispute with the telecoms and broadband provider, will go on a second major national strike this month – this time occurring on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st August.
As we reported last month, the CWU’s core issue stems from a dispute over pay. BT previously announced that they planned to award workers a £1,500 consolidated pay increase to their annual salaries (up from an original offer of £1,200). The operator said this would be the “largest [pay rise] … in over 20-years” for 58,000 of their UK frontline and Team Member colleagues – representing an increase of up to 8% for some colleagues and more than 3% for even the highest paid frontline workers.
However, the Deputy General Secretary (Telecoms and Financial Services) of the CWU, Andy Kerr, who had previously called for a pay rise of 10% to recognise the “contribution our members have made to the business”, rejected the offer and warned that, given the surging level of inflation, it would have represented a “relative pay cut“. Kerr also noted that BT’s CEO had awarded himself a 32% pay increase.
The lack of an agreement resulted in tens of thousands of BT and Openreach’s unionised workers going on the operator’s first national two-day strike since 1987, which was held on Friday 29th July and Monday 1st August. But this only appears to have had a fairly limited impact upon the national telecoms giant (here) and has not succeeded in bringing BT back to the table. Hence.. round two.
In a brief Twitter post, the CWU said: “We have today served notice on BT Group and Openreach for further strike action on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st August #FoodBankPhil.”
A BT Group spokesperson said:
“We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, although we’re disappointed, we respect their decision to strike. We have made the best pay award we could and we are in constant discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here. In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected”.
Once again, BT remains adamant that they have the necessary processes in place for tackling large-scale colleague absences, which they said will “minimise any disruption for our customers” and “keep the country connected“. On the side of Openreach, we mostly only saw fairly small and manageable delays to some repair and provision work, and the same is expected this time around.
However, unresolved pay disputes have a tendency to be followed by even more strikes, which could conceivably become longer and more disruptive in the future. Delays to provisions of up to a week can be managed, but such issues would become much more costly if key jobs start being hit by even longer delays (e.g. a month or longer).
Openreach tends to escape the risk of heavy compensation payments to clients by declaring Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) during such events, but ISPs and rival network operators will only put up with that for so long.
As for BT, they’re no doubt still concerned about future economic hits stemming from the precedent of agreeing to such a pay increase, not to mention the fact that inflation could still fall back to 2% in the not-too-distant future. Lest we forget the knock-on impact for the UK economy as the threat of a wage-price spiral grows (i.e. a vicious circle that could make inflation worse and keep it high for longer).
CWU management in bed with the Labour Party.
True. This will upset the snowflakes mind.
I hate unions, but I’ll support them in this case to bring down the BT monopoly
What monopoly?
‘we are in constant discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here’.
I would suggest that is not the case. Hence the strike.
‘ threat of a wage-price spiral grows’ .
Its been said before and i’ll say it again, why is it always the fault of the staff?? Why do we always brush over the fact that the big businesses are raking in millions, if not billions??? The energy, the water, the trains, the banks. It’s perverse.
This site is an opinion site. Mark gives his opinion on press releases at the top. Everyone else gives their opinion underneath. The knack is separating the press release from the opinion. ‘ threat of a wage-price spiral grows’ was not in the press release.
Some staff are earning a fortune with overtime yet still want more but BT Group really need to look at the pay for their lower level management. Some managers are earning well below some of their staff and this is before any overtime, etc. It’s no wonder the churn of management is so high in the business as AltNets are picking up managers from all across Openreach.
The threat of increasing wages leading to increased inflation has been disproved. Certainly when it comes to the fact BT workers (like the majority of the private sector, myself included) have not had above inflation pay rises. This means we are now paid significantly less than 10 years ago. Therefore asking for 10% merely takes the workers within reach of where their salaries actually SHOULD be. Ultimately capitalism is to blame, it’s the reason I would lay money on most of you hating Mondays, you don’t you just hate the system we are living in. Now feel free to pile on.
Openreach on the verge of failing their minimum service level agreements for year 2022 – 2023. And they sit back and do nothing for customers or employees.
As an employee and shareholder of Openreach, I can see both sides of the argument I would say that Clive shot himself in the foot by accepting that huge pay rise, but look at the economics we are expecting inflation to rise to 12% which affects everybody including big businesses, as I know as an engineer the cost of feeling up my van with diesel now cost’s Openreach £40 more than in February, times that by 40000 engineers, I am a shareholder like a lot of us and know that my job is not as safe as say 10 years ago with all the competition around trying to take our business away the unions would be better working with the company and negotiate a better pay rise for next year hopefully when inflation starts to come down.
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