BT is currently playing a critical role in powering the UK’s digital infrastructure, as well as keeping customers connected globally. Despite unprecedented demand for connectivity, BT’s fixed broadband network – the nation’s communications backbone, and EE – its mobile network, are both performing strongly.
We are prioritising support for critical services, specifically the NHS, from connecting the new Nightingale Hospitals to innovating to enable isolated patients to speak with their loved ones. This is why many of our frontline people – engineers and customer service colleagues – are designated as key workers by the UK Government.
BT is also working with Government on initiatives to support the country’s most vulnerable people and on the provision of data to guide public health policy. A raft of measures is ensuring that the company’s 30m customers have connectivity, flexibility and access to the critical services they need.
To reflect this vital role, BT announces today that, whilst ongoing transformation programmes will continue, no employee will lose their job in the foreseeable future – at least the next three months – as a direct result of changing trading conditions brought about by coronavirus. Throughout the same period, BT will continue to pay all employees’ salaries in full and – in line with its commitment to maximise support to the UK’s national effort – will not put any staff on publicly-funded ‘furlough’. We are currently supporting thousands of colleagues who are unable to work; have protected the jobs of 400 new engineers who cannot currently be trained; and are reskilling and redeploying many of our 4,200 retail staff to provide services to some of our most vulnerable customers.
To recognise these frontline key workers, who are doing so much to keep the UK connected through the crisis, BT has also decided to offer an annual pay increase of 1.5% effective from 1 July 2020 to its team members (non-managerial staff) in the UK.
At the same time, BT has decided not to make an annual pay increase to its managers in 2020/21.
BT also reconfirms its previous commitment to make an award of £500 worth of BT of shares to all employees in June. The ‘yourshare’ scheme amounts to around a £50m investment this year in making all BT Group colleagues shareholders in the company.
In addition, BT Chief Executive Philip Jansen has decided that, for at least the next six months, whilst the business works through the crisis, he will donate his salary to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 appeal and to affected small businesses in his local community.
Philip Jansen said: “BT is stepping up, standing by the country in this time of need and standing by our people who are working tirelessly to keep everyone connected, safe and working. I have been extremely proud of the commitment shown by BT colleagues to support our customers in the last few weeks and want to recognise that. This is an unprecedented situation and I want to give our people some certainty about the months ahead. This period requires sacrifices from us all, and I want our people to know we are all in this together.”
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