BT faces strike action over pay

Furious BT staff will strike if the telco doesn’t increase wages by 5%, after rejecting a blanket 2% raise.
 
Some 60,000 members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) employed by the telco agreed to hold a strike ballot on June 1 during the CWU’s annual telecoms conference yesterday – the same day BT revealed chief executive Ian Livingstone will enjoy a £1.2 million (€1.4 million) bonus in its annual report.
 
Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the union, said BT’s financial performance in the year to end-March means it can afford “a decent pay rise for staff,” who he said have “borne the brunt of cost savings and delivered the profits.”
 
BT has cut 35,000 jobs over the past two years as part of an aggressive cost-cutting strategy, and expects to cut another 5,000 by the end of the year, the Sunday Telegraph reported earlier this month.
 
“This is about fairness,” Kerr argued. “We don’t mind senior executives getting bonuses, but we want all staff to share in the success of the company.”
 
BT reported revenues of £20.9 billion and grew EBITDA 6% to £5.7 billion in the year to end-March.
 
The firm’s annual report reveals that members of the Prospect trade union, which represents managers, have already accepted the 2% pay-rise for 2010.
 
However, it also shows that Livingstone’s total remuneration – comprising his basic salary, pension, bonus and other benefits - totals over £2 million.
 
Ronnie Fox, principal of UK law firm Fox Lawyers told TelecomsEurope.net that Livingstone is worth every penny. He said Kerr’s comments “are based only on the politics of envy, and show no real understanding of the ways in which the free market governs the remuneration of the most senior executives in very large businesses.”

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