British Telecom has bullied and intimidated staff in a bid to prevent strike action over a pay dispute, the Communications Workers Union says.
The union claims BT has victimized its members and threatened to freeze their pay if they go on strike after rejecting a revised two-year pay deal the telco made earlier this week.
Members will be balloted about a strike on June 18, after talks to discuss the new deal broke down, the union announced yesterday.
“Our members are amazed at the aggressive attitude of the company and the contempt with which they are being treated,” CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said.
Kerr blasted BT for the “victimization” of its members and representatives, and fumed that the telco had tried to mislead staff with the improved pay deal, by introducing elements that had long been under discussion as new offers.
BT’s revised pay offer promised a 2% raise in 2010 and a further 3% in 2011, the end to compulsory redundancies, and the closure of sites in India to create more UK jobs.
Despite his fighting talk, Kerr says the door is still open to further discussion, provided BT is “willing to make a genuine improved offer.”
A BT spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net the firm is still keen to settle the dispute, despite being “astonished,” the union had turned down the revised package, which included performance-related pay that would see staff “receive more than 5.1% pay rise plus bonuses over the next 21 months.”
However, he said the telco has already drawn up contingency plans to protect vital services, such as calls to the emergency 999 number, in the event of a strike.