Thousands of BT employees vote for strike action over pay

Thousands of BT employees voted to strike over a dispute about pay.

Thousands of BT employees vote for strike action over pay

Thousands of BT employees voted to strike over a dispute about pay.

The balloting of approximately 30,000 Openreach engineers as well as 9,000 BT call center workers was overwhelming supportive of industrial action, according to the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

General secretary Dave Ward stated that BT is now facing its first national strike since privatisation in the 1980s.

BT stated that it was disappointed by the situation and would work to keep customers and the country connected if employees walked away.

Ward stated that he expects BT to offer a "significantly better" pay increase by next week, or that strike dates will be established.

According to the CWU, the strike action could have a significant impact on broadband roll-out and could pose a problem for people who work from home.

Prices are increasing at an alarming rate, with UK inflation at 9.1% (a 40-year high).

Households are under increasing pressure due to rising food costs, high energy bills, and skyrocketing fuel prices. Unions and workers are pushing for raises to help them.

The government warns against bosses granting large wage increases in fear of creating an "inflationary spiral" that would see firms raise wages, then pass on the increased cost to their customers by raising prices.

BT offered staff a PS1,500 per-year pay increase, but CWU stated that price increases at record levels "this is a dramatic real terms pay cut".

According to the report, BT earned PS1.3bn in annual profits and Philip Jansen, chief executive of the company, was paid a PS3.5m salary – a 32% increase.

A spokesperson for BT Group stated that the company had given its top pay increase for frontline employees in over 20 years - an average 5% rise and as high as 8% for those with the lowest salaries.

It stated that it was currently in the middle of an investment program to upgrade the country’s mobile and broadband networks, which was crucial for millions of UK customers and the economy.

They stated that investments are the key to the success of the business and its co-workers - both now and in the future.

The CWU announced that a 74.8% turnout saw the union's 30,000 Openreach employees vote by 95.8% for strike action.

According to the report, BT employees, which includes 9,000 call center workers, voted by 91.5% based on a 58.2% strike participation.

A vote by CWU members at EE was not enough to reach the legal threshold.

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