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BT workers balloted over strike action

Simon Quicke

BT staff are being balloted by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as the first national strike in more than two decades moves even closer.

With BT staff up in arms over a 2% base pay settlement the various attempts to head the strike off before it got to the stage where members were balloted failed and the process has now started to collect votes on strike action with CWU giving until 5 July for the slips to be returned.

The arguments over pay have become bitter with the union highlighting the fact that BT bosses get more than 2% with some getting closer to 7% along with bonuses.

One of the potential consequences of a yes vote for strike action could be a five day walk out which could leave customers struggling for support and service.

With the ballot closing on 5 July the earliest any action could be implemented is 12 July onwards.

Speaking earlier this month after the CWU rejected BT's attempts to improve its offer the union's deputy general secretary said that it's members were not being given a fair deal.

"As we've made clear, 2% is unacceptable for our members as it does not reflect the reward they expect given the contribution they have made to cost savings of £1.75bn and profits of over £1bn," he said.

"In addition, inflation is at 5.3% and staff are comparing this offer with the large salary rises and bonuses for senior executives which expose blatant double standards," he added.

Despite the recession this year has been one characterised by strikes with BA cabin crew walking out and some of the train staff downing tools in arguments over pay and conditions.

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