Ballot papers are being despatched today to CWU members in BT asking them to vote yes for strike action as the row over pay escalates.
The double standards in pay for those at top of the company in comparison to staff represented by CWU and the failure to properly recognise the contribution of staff remain the core issues. BT has failed to table a materially improved offer for 2010 despite profits of over £1 billion, paying shareholders a 6 per cent dividend and huge pay rises of more than 5 per cent plus millions of pounds in bonuses for senior executives.
Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “We are seeking an affordable and reasonable pay rise for our members in BT who have contributed heavily to the success of the company during a difficult couple of years.
“We are amazed at the aggressive attitude of BT bosses in the face of blatant double standards. The company’s claim that a 5 per cent pay rise for staff would lead to cutting back and making redundancies is an unbelievable fat-cat excuse – it would cost 3.6 per cent of available cash flow, hardly breaking the bank.
“This is about fairness and reality. Our members have had a pay freeze, pension changes and redundancies over the last two years but now the company is profitable, inflation is high and BT is paying out big money to shareholders and senior executives. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for our members.
“We‘re confident that our members will vote yes in this ballot, despite the scare tactics of the company. It’s time that BT recognises that you can’t treat staff like second class citizens.
“We of course remain open to meeting BT to discuss any improved offer on pay for this year. There hasn’t been a strike in BT since 1987 and we hope that there will not be need for one in 2010. However, any legal challenge from the company will not solve the outstanding issues on pay and will only worsen the already deteriorating industrial relations.”
Ballot papers are despatched on 18th June and will be arriving at members’ homes from Saturday 19th June. The ballot is run by Electoral Reform Services (ERS). The ballot closes on 5th July.