BT Industrial Dispute – Latest News – November 2022

25th November 2022 – Pay Bulletin – BT Pay Update.

Details of recommended agreement can be found here.

On Thursday 17th November we informed you that we envisaged reaching a conclusion in the pay negotiations with BT this week. 
I am pleased to confirm that there has been significant engagement between the company and ourselves. Overall the discussion has been productive although until we have a confirmed final position between us, we cannot communicate any detail. However, we are confident that a negotiated settlement is now in sight.
We have called a meeting with your local CWU Branch representatives on Monday 28th November.  We believe by then, we will have the final detail. Following this meeting, we will communicate the full detail directly to you via your email and a Facebook Live event in the evening. Please be assured that you will have the final say on a proposed agreement via a consultative ballot.  Thank you for your patience.
Yours sincerely,

Andy Kerr                                           Dave Ward

Deputy General Secretary (T&FS)     General Secretary     

12th October 2022 – Together we will win.

Support for the strikes in the last week, 6th and 10th October, was once again massive and the pressure is mounting on BT & Openreach.  We saw fantastic attendance at picket lines, huge political and public support, great social media coverage – including #FoodbankPhil trending on Twitter, and masses of attention in the media due to the strong message our emergency services (999) members sent by withdrawing their previous goodwill.  There’s no doubt this is piling pressure on the company.  

Each strike day has an impact; work stacks and waiting times are increasing, BT is struggling to deliver for customers and every strike day compounds this, due to the cumulative effect. Our dispute is being closely watched by investors, Ofcom, politicians, and big business. BT’s refusal to talk, despite the CWU’s door being open, is an unsustainable position as it has a negative impact on its integrity and brand.   BT is being reckless in its failure to recognise the impact of the cost of living crisis on your livelihoods. Continued support for the strike action is required and is now at a crucial stage. 
A united workforce cannot be ignored by BT – stick together!

6th October 2022 – You only have yourselves to blame, CWU tells BT, as more strikes get underway.

Over 40,000 BT and Openreach workers are once again downing tools en-masse in disgust at the steadfast refusal of BT Group bosses to address their anger over real-term pay cuts  that have triggered the first national strike action in the telecoms giant in 35 years.

Despite repeated CWU appeals to senior management to return to the negotiating table to achieve a fair and just settlement of an increasingly bitter pay dispute that has already seen four days of industrial action,  bosses have failed to show any interest whatsoever in resolving the industrial relations conflagration.
As such, today’s all-out strike is the first of a further four days of industrial action that will also see the CWU’s entire BT and Openreach membership withdraw their labour on Monday October 10, Thursday  October 20  and Monday October 24.
For the first time the strike is joined  by more than 500 emergency services call handlers based at  999 call centres across the country. Previously, those fielding 999 calls have been exempted from the CWU’s strike action on account of the essential public service they provide, with the union agreeing to a ‘life and limb’ agreement with management, scrupulously adhered to by the union up to now, that emergency support, including the 999 service, would be provided to cover hospital and national security-critical communications infrastructure.

But amid widespread employee outrage at the company’s continuing refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations with the CWU, these workers have now joined their company colleagues on 200-plus picket lines the length and breadth of the county.
“This decision was not taken lightly, but our union’s repeated attempts to initiate discussions was declined by a management who clearly believe they are above negotiating a fair deal for people who make massive profits for them,” stresses CWU general secretary Dave Ward.

“999 operators are using foodbanks; they’re worried about the cost of living and are being stretched to the limit. Goodwill won’t pay the bills, and vital services are now being hampered because of corporate greed. “BT management clearly has no appreciation of its workforce or their social value – but this union does, and we’ll keep on fighting this company’s attempt to plunge its workers into even further hardship.”

26th Sept 2022 – Update – Rebuttal to BT Groups Claims.

Rebuttal-to-BT-Groups-claims-CWU-Industrial-Dispute

21st Sept 2022 – An update for our Openreach and BT members.

CWU Live – YouTube The Communication Workers Union | Facebook

8th Sept 2022 – An update for our Openreach and BT members.

Firstly, we want to congratulate and thank you for your outstanding support of last week’s strike action. You are a credit to yourselves and to the union. Despite reports from a few managers in the company indicating that the impact of the strike was low. We can report that nothing could be further from the truth, the backlogs and call wait times speak for themselves but the impact has in fact been huge.  

After four days of strike action it is now important that we take stock of where we are, and make it clear to Openreach and BT that we are in this dispute for the long haul. What we will not do is burn you out as members by relentlessly calling strike action.

We are now working on our next steps to win this dispute; this will include consideration of calling further strike action but also:

  • The publication of national newspaper adverts to expose the hypocrisy of BT Group management.
  • We have engaged an external company who are in the process of setting up meetings with major shareholders.
  • We are arranging a fresh meeting with the Labour Party leadership and will be seeking to do the same with the government.
  • We will target and further expose the greed of the company leadership.
  • We will host a live session with members to update on the above.

We have been clear from the start that this dispute was a long term one. Unlike other industries, we cannot attract the same level of mass press coverage – because the impact of the strike is largely unseen by the general public. However, what we know for certain is through a combination of your support, political pressure, and shareholder lobbying, we can take BT Group to a place where they must reach a fresh agreement with us.

Our job now is to continue to stick together, staying united is the key to winning.

30th and 31st Aug 2022 – Second Strike Action by BT Workers.

18th Aug 2022 – BT Workers give notice of second Strike Action.

Around 40,000 BT Group workers will hold their second two-day strike against real-term pay cuts on Tuesday August 30 and Wednesday August 31 following management’s failure to take up the union’s offer of serious talks to end the dispute.
Read More Here.

11th Aug 2022 – BT pay dispute: Avalanche of political support for striking workers as union considers next steps.

Members across BT Group are being urged to write to their local MPs, expressing their anger and frustration at the double standards of a hugely profitable company that is imposing real-term pay cuts on frontline employees while splashing out hundreds of millions on shareholder dividends.

The move comes amid a groundswell of mainstream political support that has manifested itself at picket lines across the country. Numerous Labour MPs have publicly demonstrated their solidarity with striking BT and Openreach employees despite the party leadership’s confused position on industrial action at a time of an ever-deepening cost of living crisis.

Undeterred by Keir Starmer’s  controversial sacking of ex-shadow transport minister Sam Tarry following media appearances at a RMT picket line last month, dozens of Labour politicians – national as well as local –  turned out to support CWU protests outside more than 200 BT Group sites the length and breadth of the country on Friday July 29 and Monday August 1.
Read More Here.

Cost of Living Campaign – Enough is Enough

Dave Wards Message with regard to the CWU/BT Dispute.

BT staff will strike on Friday 29th July and Monday 1st August.

Following the rejection by Philip Jansen and the BT Board to enter in to meaningful negotiations over this years pay deal, notice has been served by the union on the company for strike action to be held on Friday 29th July and Monday 1st August.

The time has arrived for members to back your decision, back each other and back your Union. The effects of the ballot result are already being seen by the actions being taken, such as restricting access to some on-line tools. The company is effectively putting up the “SHOP CLOSED” sign on the door by shutting down the order books for the next few days.   Please do is not attend any shift commencing in the periods 00:00 -23:59 29th July and 00:00-23:59 1st August. You do not need to inform anyone of your intention prior to, or do not need to answer any phone calls of emails within, these times.
The CWU have given formal notification of your absence

I am writing on behalf of Wycombe Labour to express our solidarity and support for the strike action being taken by over 40,000 BT Group workers this Friday 29 July and Monday 1 August.
It is very concerning to see yet another group of loyal and hardworking key workers we all depended on during the pandemic being treated with total disdain; in this case by an employer making £1.3 bn in annual profit and awarding its CEO with a £3.5 m pay package – a 32 percent increase.  Shameful!
The strike ballot results were impressive and show the determination of your members to stand up for a well deserved, fair pay award.  We wish them every success.

Message of support from the TULO, Wycombe Labour.

A Regional / Branch meeting will be held on Monday July 25th, at 19:00 to answer the many questions from members, with regard to taking strike action, which have been raised. It’s understandable that members have concerns and hopefully this meeting will address these. An officer from Head Office will be in attendance.
All BT members should have received a Zoom invite link for this meeting, but you haven’t yet received one, then please contact our branch secretary, sec@cwu-cctv.org

If any manager continually asks for you to inform them of your intention to strike, as part of DOC, then please report the individual to your Union Rep.

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See latest CWU News Release here.

Isn’t it funny how the people who tell workers a proper pay rise is unaffordable always manage to deliver one for themselves?!

BT group chief executive Philip Jansen’s pay last year was 86 times what BT’s average worker got and 97 times its lower paid staff.
Independant ‘Point of View’ from Novara Media

According to General Secretary, Dave Ward, the companies position of an imposition of a pay deal and without giving members the opportunity to accept or reject the companies offer, is unsustainable.
Shareholders have received over £700M, representing nearly 60% of the £1.3B profits in the form of dividends.
On top of this, Philip Jansen, who received a 32% pay rise last year, taking his package to £3.5m including bonuses and share awards, has said the company cannot afford to give its staff an improved, indexed linked pay rise, even after increasing consumer prices by around 10%.

Over 40,000 BT Group workers to hold a two-day national strike against real-terms pay cuts, with senior management accused by our general secretary Dave Ward as having “stuck two fingers up” to key workers…

The announcement followed a strike ballot, in which Openreach engineers voted for action by 95.8 per cent and members in BT returned a 91.5 per cent majority for the walkout. The dispute centres on workers opposing the imposition by the business of a far-below-inflation, flat-rate, £1,500pa pay settlement on employees, which is a dramatic real-terms pay cut when compared to RPI inflation levels of over 11 per cent.

It is also in the context of BT making £1.3 billion in annual profit, with CEO Philip Jansen gaining a £3.5 million pay package – a 32 per cent wage increase – while the Big Issue and the BBC have reported instances of BT offices establishing food banks to assist employees.

These members look after the vast majority of Britain’s telecoms infrastructure, from mobile phone connection, broadband internet and back-up generators to national heath systems, cyber security and data centres.

The strike action is also likely to have a serious effect on the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband and may cause significant issues for those working from home. It is the first strike action at BT Group since 1987, and the first national call-centre workers’ strike.

Our general secretary Dave Ward said: “For the first time since 1987, strike action will now commence at BT Group. This is not a case of an employer refusing to meet a union’s demands – this is about an employer refusing to meet us whatsoever. The serious disruption this strike may cause is entirely down to Philip Jansen and his friends, who have chosen to stick two fingers up to their own workforce.

“These are the same workers who kept the country connected during the pandemic. Without CWU members in BT Group, there would have been no home-working revolution, and vital technical infrastructure may have malfunctioned or been broken when our country most needed it. Our members worked under great difficulty – and  got a real-terms pay cut as a reward.

“Meanwhile, Jansen gifted himself a £3.5 million pay package – a 32 per cent pay increase and BT’s chief financial officer was handed £2.2 million – a 25 per cent increase. And there has also been £700 million paid out to shareholders.

“The reason for the strike is simple: workers will not accept a massive deterioration in their living standards. We won’t have bosses using Swiss banks while workers are using food banks.

“BT Group workers are saying: enough is enough. We are not going to stop until we win.”

And deputy general secretary (T&FS) Andy Kerr said: “The decision to take strike action was not made lightly. From the very beginning of this dispute, we have repeatedly expressed our wishes to sit down and negotiate a pay deal that treats BT Group workers with the respect they more than deserve.

“Instead, our attempts to meet and improve this situation were declined by senior management who clearly have no time for the people who make them their massive profits and this disrespect has led to the first strike at BT Group in nearly four decades.

“If the top brass at BT haven’t got it yet – this strike is a problem that is entirely of their own making. BT Group workers deserve to be treated with dignity. That means a proper pay rise, and we will not give up until we get that.”

If we stand together, we will win this dispute.