BT Union Set to Ballot for Industrial Action after ‘Dismal Offer’

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Jeannie Drake, Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), representing thousands of BT engineers, says BT's formal opening offer of 1% on all base pay rates and allowances payable in April 2006 was a dismal offer.

The CWU National negotiating team made clear that the offer could not – and would not – form the basis of any settlement with the CWU.

BT sought to justify the offer by stating:

• The CWU's claim for 5% was unrealistic in the current environment

• Business transformation has increased pressure on costs and other telecoms companies are aggressively cutting their costs

• The cost of pension benefi ts needed to be taken into account

In rejecting the offer, the CWU made clear that it is BT's offer which is completely unrealistic and reiterated that:

• The offer is the Boards public statement of their view of our members worth – and that is very demotivating for CWU members who continue to co-operate with business transformation.

• Inflation is currently at 2.4%, so this offer is a cut in pay in real terms.

• Gas, electricity, council tax are all increasing at rates well above inflation.

• The pension deficit should not impact on CWU members right to a decent pay rise.

The CWU negotiating team has told BT in no uncertain terms that if they were to maintain a position of such low pay offers, the Union would ballot for industrial action and have no doubts that our members will support that call for action.