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Union Rejects Revised BT Pay Offer and Preps Strike Ballot

Thursday, April 7th, 2022 (12:55 pm) - Score 7,032
BT Staff and Recruits UK

The BT Group (inc. Openreach, Plusnet and EE) has today proposed to award frontline broadband and telecoms workers a £1,500 consolidated pay increase. But the Communications Workers Union, which represents c.40,000 of the operator’s UK staff, has rejected this and moved to “prepare for a statutory industrial action ballot.

BT settled their last dispute with the CWU during the middle of last year (here), which nearly resulted in a major national strike. But part of that agreement saw the operator commit to implement a pay increase for team members (and management teams) in the UK, which was due to be awarded this year and would “depend on various factors including business performance, economic outlook and inflation.”

NOTE: The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) recently rose by 6.2% in the 12 months to February 2022, up from 5.5% in January.

Last week we reported that BT had proposed a consolidated pay increase of £1,200 for all Team Member and frontline colleagues across the BT Group, which they claimed would be the “largest aggregate pay increase” for those workers in the last 14 years – representing a “salary increase of between 2.7% and 5.64%.” But the CWU promptly rejected that and negotiations continued (here).

Following the “conclusion” of those negotiations with the CWU, BT has today sweetened the deal by announcing that they plan to award all those workers a £1,500 consolidated pay increase to their annual salaries, effective from 1st April 2022. This is said to represent an increase of up to 8% for some colleagues and more than 3% for even the highest paid frontline workers.

Philip Jansen, BT Group CEO, said:

“BT Group has continued to support the country as it recovers from the pandemic: keeping families connected, helping businesses to grow in new, online markets and supporting organisations to stay connected and adopt hybrid working. We took the decision not to use redundancy and the government’s furlough scheme as a direct consequence of the pandemic, and thanks to the contribution of all 100,000 BT people, we’ve continued to improve customer ratings and invest in growing our full-fibre and mobile networks.

While we have continued to extend and strengthen our networks to support the country’s recovery, the pandemic has hit our financial performance, like that of most companies. We know that the cost of living continues to rise and by making this award, we’re ensuring that our lower paid workers will benefit most and as soon as possible. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to make this pay award – the biggest in 20 years – to thank our colleagues and recognise their hard work.”

BT noted that its pay rise – the “largest … in over 20-years” – was being awarded to 58,000 frontline and Team Member colleagues across BT Group, including engineers, contact centre and retail workers – all of whom are based in the UK. This is out of a total global workforce of around 100,000 people, c.83,000 of whom work in the UK.

However, in a brief initial statement, the CWU said they had “rejected the pay offer” and apparently have “no choice now but to immediately prepare for a statutory industrial action ballot.” The Union said they would be sending further communications to members via email and social media later today.

In 2021, BT Group paid frontline workers a £1,000 cash payment, in addition to an award of £500 worth of BT Group shares.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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33 Responses
  1. DaveIsRight says:

    Eh? What has you not getting a pay rise for 9 years have to do with unions? Or are you trying to suggest that because you didn’t have a pay rise in 9 years it’s bad for the unions to fight for other people to get a pay rise? Or is it that you’re blaming the union for you not getting a pay rise for 9 years?

    It’s EXACTLY what the rich and powerful want you to do m8y. They want you attack those who are fighting and standing up for your rights instead of directing your energy and anger at them for not giving you a pay rise in the first place.

    BT claiming this is the largest pay rise in 20 years is not a boast. It’s a disgraceful indictment on the fact they’ve not given decent payrises probably ever. Annual CPI has been 2.1% on average every year for the last 20. This year it’s likely going to be well North of 6%. This isn’t likely to touch the sides of anyone who’s been there for a while who has almost certainly seen a drop in their money in real terms. Just another corporate scumbag.

  2. Stephen says:

    So you are basically calling all the key workers which make up this Union scumbags. The same key workers who came into work putting their lives at risk to keep the UK connected. At the same time this company made millions and profited from selling faster broadband and extra TV packages for people in lockdown. They had no pay rise one year and an imposed cash bung. This year based on the £30,800 average income workers will lose £2650 due to price rises, these workers earn signicantly less so £1500 from the millions made leaves them significantly out of pocket. So I hope your proud calling key workers scumbags I for one think they deserve more and a union is a family of workers sticking up for themselves from people with your mindset.

    1. Fastman says:

      interesing most of people in CWU are new Grid – non manager so will have gained pay rises each year (think last year was a 3 year deal) even during covid and last couple of years most managers will not have had a pay rise in the last 3 years

      lots of changes going on as well in the business around working together programme which is bascailly move into an office or goodbye (assuming your office based)

  3. Martin says:

    So BT are whacking up prices and expect their workers to take less…

    1. SustainUser says:

      Hopeful the Union demand an pay incress of Inflation rate + 3.9% for the next 5 years.

    2. Mateusz says:

      That money is going for bonuses for the executives. They had nothing left for the rest.

  4. Bob says:

    You sir, are an idiot. It’s no wonder you haven’t had a pay rise in 9 years if you are THAT stupid. Minimum wage is too good for you.

  5. Mark Jackson says:

    @Bob. Please avoid posting abuse towards others, thanks.

  6. A little advice says:

    @Anon

    You bragging again Anon, maybe you could use those millions to buy yourself a decent property rather than the one you currently live in

  7. Ex Telecom Engineer says:

    I’ll just repeat what I said previously:

    “I bet the Government would contact BT, on the quiet, and discourage them from giving an across the board 10% pay rise to their employees. If BT gives a 10% pay rise, then other unions would want the same, and companies would be under pressure to offer the same. In a high inflationary environment, a large company offering an above inflation pay rise, could start an inflationary wage spiral driving inflation higher over the long term, across all industry. There’s no way the CWU will get 10%, if they did the BOE would likely raise interest rates much faster, to head off a possible resulting wage/price spiral. If UK PLC is forced to give 10% pay rises, across the board, don’t be surprised when mortgage payments follow interest rates higher.”

    Inflation busting pay rises, stoking a wage/price inflation spiral, will feed through to the BOE raising interest rates faster and further, hence much higher monthly mortgage interest repayments.

  8. saynotoBT says:

    the company should be closed down for providing the worst broadband service in 2022 with their outdated old fashioned copper cables. And lie to customers how they give fibre optic broadband to them.

  9. boost says:

    I suppose the problem is, they’re almost certainly all stimulus jobs that could disappear tomorrow if BT decided to do so.

    I doubt these quangos fear walk outs but best of luck.

  10. Mike says:

    Communists strike again…

  11. SingleMode says:

    What’s a stimulus job?

    1. Fish and Chips says:

      A pole dancing job?

  12. John says:

    My old job – I never get any pay rise for 15 years! UK are always conned and useless miserable place to live. No wonder I see lots of miserable workers.

  13. MartinConf says:

    Thats crafty by BT as if some of it is shares (£500) that won’t be considered as salary but will be considered as a one off payment so it won’t be added to peoples salary meaning next years pay will start £500 down.

    1. Fastman says:

      shares is an annual think right accross the company share awards normally happen in July / July and are dependant on the previous year business performance – and is not aligned to pay awards –

  14. Geoff Hammond says:

    I unfortunately work for BT and can tell you that they are awful employers who don’t care about anything apart from profit. The campaign that I am on sees “engineers” go to customers house and fleece the elderly especially by selling them expensive upgrades that they don’t need. When anything is said about what is morally right, you are silenced through managers making it difficult. BT=Biggest Tossers

    1. Kevsta says:

      That is quite interesting, as a “engineer” we often question why we are being asked to install superfast/ultrafast internet for a elderly customer who is using it for the odd email and crossword game maybe checking the news. Yet we just get from the management its down to the customer and service provider to make sure they are on the right package we just “do as we are told”. Normally its the sales rep who been pushy and misguided the customer to get a sale.

      Anyway as a “engineer” it doesn’t make one jot of difference to us if the customer is on 300mg or 3mg its not money in our pocket if they are paying more then required you should know we do not work on any type of commission or bonus, so a very strange campaign they have you on there.

    2. Oggy says:

      What “expensive upgrades” would these be Geoff?

    3. James smith says:

      Yet you continue to work for them and help the “fleece” old people that makes you just as bad I think

    4. Fastman says:

      interesting something no quite kosher on your post — if your an engineer working for openreach you are installing a product for a subscriber whoc might belong to any one of 100 service providers (its irrelevant who the provider is) so not sure what point your making but it seems to be incorrect regardless

    5. John says:

      Why don’t you leave then ?

    6. The witcher says:

      Engineers goto homes to provide or fix a service by the provider, they don’t sell or provide upgrades to anything.

    7. Oggy says:

      Geoff has went awfully quiet, is it because they are a liar?

    8. Anonymous says:

      I assume Geoff may mean Enjoy rather than Openreach, Enjoy are heavily targeted on VAS

    9. Anon says:

      It’s why I left last year, sick of being treated like rubbish, being told that the centralisation of offices would enhance my working life, adding 3 hours of travel on each day, no thank you, I took me expertise elsewhere

  15. Libertarian says:

    Commies bringing down BT was not in my bingo book for what could topple their near monopoly

  16. CofCof says:

    Breaking news….Geoff Hammond doesn’t work for BT. John is max from the old days, and Anon is an embarrassment to himself.

  17. FairPayForAll says:

    Since when were certain groups of our workforce considered ‘special’ or “Key workers”?
    Are not all our country’s employees key workers? It’s so peculiar that the media push this narrative of one group of workers are more important than the rest. Its a method which is used to create Hero’s of a narrative. There always needs to be hero’s and villains in any good story, to keep us distracted from the real causes & fighting amoungst ourselves. IMHO we are all overworked and underpaid. Nat. minimum wage is a joke, which I should add is easily circumvented (#P&O)
    Unions roles are crutial, now more than ever, as the wealth to income gap increases and the true cost of living crisis is emphisising how underpaid we all are as a whole. Indicators such as CPI/RPI/PMI are all weighed to suite those who use these indicators to measure how best to avoid paying the real true costs we face, to benefit those at the top. The increases in real world basket of goods /services we really need and use are not a true reflection used in calculations based around CPI, etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wealth equality/workers rights and acknowledgement that the UK is the overtime underpaid capital of the world. We need more Union’s and a much fairer society especially when it comes to pay.

    1. truthsayer says:

      I heard places like North Korea and Venezuela have mostly equal pay, probably so much equality that unions don’t even need to exist

  18. Rupert Bear says:

    The largest rise in 20 years, it may be, but that’s because in previous years the pay rises have been ridiculous.

    No rise for the last two years. Inflation at an all time high, and it will only get worse. This offer is nothing but a kick in the nuts for employees. The company need to invest massively, not only in its FTTP network, but also its employees! These are the people that bring the money in!

    I hope all CWU members stand with the union and back any industrial action, whatever it may be. The company need to hear employees loud and clear.

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