BT Group response to notification by the CWU of industrial action
A BT Group spokesperson said:
“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.
“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’re balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders and that includes making once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, vital for the UK economy and for BT Group’s future – including our people.
“While we respect the choice of our colleagues who are CWU members to strike, we will work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected. We have tried and tested processes for large scale colleague absences to minimise any disruption for our customers and these were proved during the pandemic.”
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.
The CWU has notified us that they will be holding two days of industrial action for its BT and Openreach members on the 29th July and 1st August, 2022.
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.