back to article BT workers get strike ballots

BT workers will receive ballot papers early next week, as they go to the polls over what would be their first strike since 1987. Talks over pay broke down last week and it's now expected that 55,000 members of the Communication Workers Union will vote to walk out. They are demanding a five per cent pay rise this year. BT has …

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Fully agree...

"Our members have had a pay freeze, pension changes and redundancies over the last two years but now the company is profitable, inflation is high and BT is paying out big money to shareholders and senior executives. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for our members."

It's not only BT who are acting in this way - this issue is systemic and widespread across many big corporations.

So many companies now are failing to give basic pay rises in line with inflation (circa 5%) thereby meaning year-on-year people in the organisation who provide the service and make the money are constantly taking a pay cut and being kicked in the teeth. This issue, alongside the constant threat and reality of ongoing redundancies being made, staff are right to feel aggrieved.

All too often, Corporates now look after their Execs with large payrises, share options, guaranteed pensions and golden parachutes, whilst fucking over the guys in the buisiness who actually do the work and keep the buinsess making money.

A word of warning to Big Company Execs - As the economy starts to pick up, don't be surprised if the talent within your organisation looks at how you've been treating them for the last few years and tells you to stick your job up your arse, or exercise their right to withhold their labour

People will only put up with so much crap for so long.

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Big Brother

That's what inflation is about, dude

Inlfation does not mean that pay should rise.

Inflation is due to either the government printing money (taxing you stealthily) or the general level of pay being too high in relation to actual productivity (so prices on output rise in accordance).

Additionally, threatening someone with "witholding labor" is about as effective as treatening someone with cutting yourself. It's rather emo.

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Black Helicopters

Suck it up BT

Working at BT's biggest competitor in the landline and ISP business (I'll leave it up to you to argue about who that is) we had a pay and bonus freeze last year, and only got a 2% pay raise this year.

I'd love to get 5% this year and 3% next but that's never going to happen.

Suck it up BT, maybe if you and OR stopped being so shit you'd diverse better pay raises.

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its not about what everybody wlse is getting in other companies

Its about the fact the execs are getting holy shit big bonuses and then the workers are being told sorry no pay rise there isnt any money !!

We just gave it all to ourselves ....

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Fat Cats and Cream ...

Whereas you look at the BA stikers and think "what idiots" , their company is losing a fortune and the net result of their action is that many of them will end up out of work, I think it's different for BT. Whereas I've never been a member of a union and would generally not support any kind of strike action, I think in this instance BT staff have a very valid point.

At the end of the day, BT workers are not asking for a huge pay rise because the company is making a profit, they're asking because they can see the money is there and that others are getting it. From my perspective as someone who has to walk into a shop on occasion and 'buy stuff', the actual rate of inflation is already over 5%, so their request doesn't seem to be that unreasonable.

If BT management were smart (something that's been in doubt for quite some time) they would have kept their own pay rises and shareholder payouts down to the level they could afford to pay their staff.

Although a strike could really hurt my business, but I think the Union is right ...

(nice to see a Union getting it right for a change .. ;) )

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What is this socialist BS

Exec bonuses are a matter of contract. For turning the fortunes of the company around and bringing it back to profitability they get a whacking bonus. They are the ones who made the difficult choices and took risks to achieve this. If they had failed they would be unemployed.

Sales people get paid commission on the money they bring into the business, exec bonuses are no different.

The low level staff just turned up for 40 odd hours a week and followed orders.

If management hadn't done their jobs well the would be strikers wouldn't have jobs or wages to complain about.

If I were running BT I would be starting a mass recruitment drive to replace anyone who doesn't want to work for BT.

Unions are an unnecessary, counter productive relic. A strike is generally a precursor to a hostile takeover or a failed company.

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I didn't know BT was a Workers Co-operative

Call me old fashioned but I thought profit making companies made profits for the benefit of their shareholders. I know times are hard but it ain't BT's job to offset inflation for 50,000 odd blue collar workers by giving excessive pay rises.

CWU will soon be a laughing stock if this gets more news coverage. I mean 5% !! come off it.

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong

"If they had failed they would be unemployed."

Wrong. They'd be given a massive golden handshake. Like that annoying frog tit who bankrupted global services managed to get a package worth over 2 million quid.

They take no risk themselves, they are damn near bullet proof. The people that take the risks that the managers put the company in the way of are the workers, who being cheap and easy to get rid of, are first up against the wall.

Just do a quick google to see how many people GS lost before the french idiot got his marching orders.

"A strike is generally a precursor to a hostile takeover or a failed company."

Yep, BT are fairly failed already and the management are arguing that a strike would be more damaging. Well, the union reckon they can afford 5%, so why are the management choosing not to do something they can afford that will damage the company?

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"This is about fairness and reality" said Andy Kerr.

Exactly. He just didn't clarify what he meant: "Our demands are not fair and are totally unreal".

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Stop

BT Strike

What will always be an issue here is the fact that the senior management have received a 5 - 7 percent pay rise plus a significant bonus, I don't and can't accept that they deserve this on the assumption that they make the difficult decisions. People at the bottom are the ones doing the difficult work, as well as pay freezes, loss of bonuses and unrealistic targets these people run the risk of being managed out of the business for voicing their concerns and making a stand. It's not acceptable to compare BT to companies who have made record losses and attempt to justify a bellow inflation pay rise. It's the same throughout the modern world that the people at the top shower in the rewards while the people at the bottom get kicked when their down. This company is a mess and I sometimes wonder whether or not these fat cats could even arrange a phone call in a call centre.

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Big Picture

Make no mistake this dispute is NOT about the money. BT have chosen this issue to provoke a dispute in order to break the CWU. BT could easily afford the £65 million a 5% rise would cost. They want to provoke a dispute so they can portray the CWU as greedy and irresponsible. However what BT are not saying is that last year the employees did not receive a pay rise and did not go on strike over this issue because they wanted to help the company through a difficult period. This was done on the understanding when things improved employees would be compensated fairly. The company has reneged on this gentleman's agreement and this has provoked the current situation. In addition Chairman Mike Rake wanted all employees (except the board) to take a 10% PAY CUT last year and it was only successful negotiation by Andy Kerr which prevented this.

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