BT pay negotiations: Not another rotten deal

CWU chiefs have begun negotiations with BT management for an above inflation pay rise as well as a lump sum payment for those earning the least. This comes after BT announced a profit of £1.8 billion for the last 9 months of 2012. After dealing with an unprecedented and sustained increase in call outs in 2012 due to massive flooding and installing the fibre optic network ahead of target in many areas, workers would be forgiven for thinking they had earned a real reward. Instead BT workers have seen the company continue their “cost cutting”, including continued outsourcing for non-emergency tasks, the creation of Pay By Assignment contracts to take advantage of the loopholes in the Agency Workers Directive, a £4.3billion hole in the pension fund and the acceleration of a race to the bottom in Newgrid terms and conditions.
Workers had to endure below inflation pay increases after a rotten deal was agreed in 2010. The threat of industrial action won a 9% pay rise over three years. But in reality it led to a no-strike clause agreement for three years and pay stagnating below the spiralling cost of living. Even when inflation hit 5% in 2011, which was an agreed trigger to prompt a cost of living payment, it took management 5 months to come to the table.
It is obvious now management used the excuse of the recession and economic crisis to hold down their workers wages and push through significant attacks all while their profits increased. This was done with the acceptance of the CWU leadership. Any pay offer that does not redress the real drop in wages in the past three years will be yet another sell out. We need a real strategy to fight for a living wage linked to reversing the destruction of our hard fought terms and conditions.

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