Britain: BT workers threaten strike


More than 55,000 BT (formerly British Telecom) workers could walk out on strike this month unless the telecommunications giant bows to their demands and improves its “derisory” pay offer.

Communication Workers Union delegates voted unanimously on May 26 to give BT until June 4 before serving formal legal notice of the union’s intention to ballot for industrial action.

The decision came just hours after BT’s annual financial report revealed that its chief executive, Ian Livingstone, and three other directors raked in bonuses totalling £2.7 million last year.

More than 1000 delegates crowded into the Bournemouth conference hall to hear impassioned speeches call for a united stance to see the fight through.

Deputy general secretary for telecommunications Andy Kerr said the union’s 5% pay claim accounted for a fraction of BT’s £1 billion profit in 2009.

“With a pay freeze last year and inflation now running at 5.3%, BT’s attitude to pay is insulting and the staff deserve more”, he said.

Members have already rejected the company’s 2% pay offer, saying that it amounts to a real pay cut and will have a detrimental impact on their pension.

[Abridged from Morning Star.]