What does the CWU and its BT/Openreach and EE Members want ?
The CWU wants a cost of living rise for all.
£1500 comes nowhere near the current inflation figures for anyone.
Putting a percentage on it is not possible on the basis that everyone has had the same and therefore different percentages already.
For those asking about what we are aiming for, we are asking for ‘more for everyone’ and most importantly a negotiated deal, and not just what BT feel like awarding.
Remember the business put up their prices above inflection levels to protect their profits, but yet don’t feel the same need to protect their workers.
Why it is important for every member to vote and to vote YES ?
If we let the company get away with imposition without consultation this year, in the future what will they impose? This is as much about the future of pay as it is about the present.
Barring movement from a senior management team which has so far shown itself impervious to a tidal wave of employee fury over the imposition of a real-term pay cut, voting papers will be despatched to 40,000 members in BT, Openreach and EE on Wednesday June 15.
Please see the links below for further information on the importance of this ballot.
“The CWU didn’t seek this showdown – but given the disrespect and contempt senior management have piled on loyal and hardworking employees – expecting you take real-term pay cuts while paying out bumper dividends to shareholders and no doubt themselves – this is a battle we have no choice but to fight and win!”
The timing of the ballot coincides with the TUC demonstration on Saturday June 18th which focuses on the cost of living crisis, something which is at the heart of our dispute with Openreach, BT and EE. More details here.
Live and recorded footage of the rally will be mde avaiable to members to help motivate and deliver the biggest possible yes vote in the ballot.
If, as the CWU confidently expects, the ballot confirms members’ outright rejection of a vicious attack on living standards by a hugely profitable blue chip employer, BT bosses will have no-one but themselves to blame for the first company-wide strike in 35 years.
At the heart of the dispute, after all, is the company’s abandonment of time-honoured negotiating protocols based on partnership and consent that have underpinned decades of industrial peace. This year, for the very first time, an unagreed pay settlement has been imposed within 24 hours of its formal rejection by the CWU.
“This imposition undermines industrial relations and is totally disrespectful to the many thousands of employees who are CWU members,” stresses CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr.
“The last time we came close to industrial action on pay in BT was in 2010. That, in itself, shows the seriousness with which we always try to negotiate to reach an agreed outcome and the fact we never take these decisions lightly.
“The trouble is that you can only negotiate if the other side of the table want to negotiate, and sadly it is now clear that BT doesn’t want to do so anymore.”
Coming a year after BT’s imposition of an unconsolidated £1,000 cash bung in 2021 – disingenuously presented as a ‘thank-you’ to staff for keeping the country’s communication infrastructure running throughout the pandemic – this year’s pay snub has been the final straw.
It was precisely to try to ensure that members received a proper cost of living increase this year that the CWU secured a commitment that any jointly-agreed increase would be fully consolidated in the complex negotiations that concluded the union’s Count Me In campaign.
Yet, despite initial indications that pay talks were progressing normally, negotiations came to an abrupt halt on April 7 with the unprecedented imposition of a flat rate increase of £1,500.
With the percentage value ranging from 3.37% to 7.89% across team member grades, and this month’s CPI inflation figures already standing at 9% (RPI 11.1%) – leaving Bank of England predictions that CPI will top 10% by the year’s end looking distinctly optimistic – it already represents a real-term pay cut on top of an effective pay freeze last year.
Moreover, the fact that recent uplifts to £20,000 for some of the company’s lowest paid workers on unagreed grades count towards the £1,500 increase, and are deducted from it, mean that for many the ‘headline’ increase of 7.89% is highly deceptive.
“Despite what some in the media have been saying the CWU has categorically not rejected an 8% pay rise,” stresses Andy. “For many of the lowest paid workers at least 5% of what they have received only gets them back to where they should have been in the first place! The simple truth is that BT had to increase these wages back in January because they couldn’t recruit on that salary!
“In overall pay pot terms, the deal is worth around 4.8% and we simply don’t believe that’s enough – especially after a pay standstill last year and the full-blown cost of living crisis we are now in.
“Philip Jansen says it’s all about affordability, yet this year BT is intending to pay out £761 million to shareholders – about 60% of the Group’s overall profits – so this is actually about choices and priorities, not affordability.
“If BT reduced the 7.7 pence per share dividend they are planning to give shareholders by between 0.4 and 0.5 pence, and gave that money instead to those who generate the profits, that would be enough to settle a deal I’m confident members would find acceptable.
“These workers put their lives on the line during the pandemic to keep the country connected and the BT Board – who receive incentive payouts based on the value created for the shareholder – continue to make massive financial gains from the profits our members have worked hard to create.
“BT needs to wake up and recognise that, in a climate where the cost of everything is skyrocketing, it is simply insulting for a highly successful business to impose real-term pay cuts on the very employees on which its success depends,” Andy concludes.