British Telecom has dodged a bullet in the short-term, after ensuring a strike ballot by staff was postponed due to legal problems.
The results of the Communications Workers Union poll were due to be announced yesterday, but instead the union revealed it had cancelled the ballot after legal advice showed it could breach the UK’s tough trade-union laws.
A series of letters sent by the telco to the union in recent weeks amounted to a legal challenge to the ballot the union revealed.
The union states it will take “all necessary steps” to re-ballot the 50-60,000 members that work for BT, but in the meantime will enter fresh pay talks with the telco.
“We’re bitterly disappointed that this ballot has had to be cancelled,” Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary said. “It’s devastating for our members and for trade union rights in the UK.”
A statement from BT confirmed it had pointed out “procedural issues regarding the ballot,” however a spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net the firm had not initiated legal proceedings against the union.
Kerr called for clarification on the laws covering unions, and on ballots in particular.
“The legal technicalities on which this ballot has been cancelled again raise questions over the right to strike, and the extremely restrictive trade union laws that exist in the UK,” Kerr said.
BT has been at loggerheads with the CWU since the union rejected its company-wide 2% pay deal for 2010, and a subsequent increased 5% deal over two years.