BT Group response to notification by the CWU of industrial action in October
A BT Group spokesperson said:
“We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, whilst we respect the right of colleagues to take industrial action, we are profoundly disappointed that the CWU is prepared to take this reckless course of action by including 999 services in strikes.
“We will do whatever it takes to protect 999 services – redeploying our people to the most important priority is a normal part of BT Group operations.
“We made the best pay award we could in April and we have held 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”.
At the start of this year, we were in exhaustive discussions with the CWU that lasted for two months, trying hard to reach an agreement on pay. When it became clear that we were not going to reach an accord, we took the decision to go ahead with awarding our team member and frontline colleagues the highest pay award in more than 20 years, effective 1st April.
BT Group awarded a fully consolidated pay increase to its Team Member and frontline colleagues of £1,500. This represents a pay rise of around 5% on average and 8% for the lowest paid and it was effective from 1 April 2022.
Despite this pay award – the highest for over 20 years – the CWU balloted its members, the result of which was a vote in favour of industrial action among its Openreach and BT members. They fell short of the required turnout among their EE members.
We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be re-opening the 2022 pay review, having already made the best award we could. We have been in constant discussions with the union throughout this process, including a recent face to face meeting, and although we’ve not yet reached any form of consensus, we are both committed to further dialogue.
The CWU has notified us that they will be holding four days of industrial action for its BT and Openreach members on the 6th, 10th, 20th and 24th October.
Our continuity and resilience processes have been well rehearsed over the last two years: At the start of the pandemic, we saw a near doubling of data traffic over our core network because of the mass shift to home working. At the same time, we had to re-prioritise the work of our frontline key workers due to colleagues self-isolating, social distancing practices and other restrictions from the pandemic – all the while keeping our colleagues safe and our customers and the country connected.
We will work to reduce the impact of any industrial action by, for example, postponing any non-essential planned engineering or software updates - similar to what we did at the height of the pandemic and as we do over holidays like Christmas.
BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.
BT Group consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Enterprise and Global are our UK and international business-focused units respectively; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary, which wholesales fixed access infrastructure services to its customers - over 650 communication providers across the UK.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about