Mobile phones and broadband could be part of BT Group strike

Icons of social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp are displayed on a mobile phone screen, London.

More than 40,000 BT Group workers have announced a two-day nationwide strike against what they say are pay cuts in real terms.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) – which represents workers at BT Group – today filed notice of a strike which will take place on July 29 and August 1.

It follows a ballot last month that saw 30,000 Openreach engineers vote to strike 95.8% out of a turnout of 74.8%.

BT workers, around 9,000 of whom work in call centres, followed suit, voting in favor of the strike by 91.5% on a turnout of 58.2%.

BT’s National Network Management Center moved to Oswestry in the 1980s.

The dispute is about workers who oppose the offer and implementation of a pay rise of £1,500 a year for employees which they say together with inflation equates to a pay cut .

BT made an annual profit of £1.3billion last year, with CEO Philip Jansen securing a £3.5million pay package – a 32% pay rise, according to the union.

Striking workers take care of the vast majority of Britain’s telecommunications infrastructure, from mobile phone connection, broadband internet and backup generators to national health systems, cybersecurity and data centres.

The strike is also likely to have a serious effect on the deployment of superfast broadband.

This is the first strike within the BT group since 1987 and the first national strike by call center workers.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “For the first time since 1987 a strike will now begin within the BT Group.

“This is not a case of an employer refusing to respond to a union’s demands – this is an employer refusing to meet with us. Any serious disruption this strike may cause is entirely due to Philip Jansen and his friends.”

“These are the same workers who have kept the country connected during the pandemic. Without the CWU members within the BT Group, there would have been no work-from-home revolution, and vital technical infrastructure may have malfunctioned or been broken when our country needed it most. .”

“We won’t have bosses using Swiss banks while workers use food banks.”