Britain’s telecom network faces turmoil when BT employees vote for strikes

Britain’s telecommunications network will face confusion as workers from telecommunications giant BT Group (BT) overwhelmingly favor strikes in wage disputes.

The company has faced the first national strike since it was privatized in the 1980s, after members of BT’s Communication Workers Union (CWU) and its wholly owned subsidiary Openreach supported industrial activities.

Openreach members voted 95% in favor of the strike with a turnout of 74%, and BT workers voted 91% with a turnout of 58%.

Below-Inflationary wage increases

CWU Secretary-General Dave Ward said BT workers “retained the country during the pandemic.”

He said the company is imposing sub-inflationary wage increases on workers despite their contributions.

“This situation is unjust, but it’s also unacceptable. People aren’t working harder and harder,” he added.

Ward said he hopes BT will offer a “significantly improved” salary increase by next week. Otherwise the strike date will be set.

A spokesperson for the BT Group said:

“At the same time, we are in the middle of a generational investment program to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks.”

The company said it needed to “balance the competing demands of BT Group stakeholders” in a “difficult economic environment.”

The CWU vote was “disappointing,” but the company said, “We will strive to maintain a connection between our customers and the country.”

“Not sustainable”

Industrial activity is booming in the UK amid rising inflation and pessimistic economic forecasts.

Last week, about 40,000 members of the Railroad, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union (RMT) struck a national three-day strike, paralyzing the railroad network.

Heathrow-based British Airways workers have voted to strike in a wage dispute, threatening to disrupt summer vacationers’ travel plans.

Barristers also went on strike in protest of “unacceptable wages and working conditions.”

On June 23, the government announced a new law that would allow companies to supply government workers to fill the shortage of workers in industrial activities.

Commerce Secretary Kwasi Kwaten said it is “unsustainable” that trade unions can “claim a ransom by shutting down important public services and businesses.”

He said the new bill “allows businesses to give their fully skilled staff the freedom to access quickly, while at the same time allowing people to continue their lives uninterrupted to help keep the economy running.” Stated.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan


Posted on