Frontline workers at BT and Openreach will once again go on strike in October in an ongoing dispute over pay and will be joined by hundreds of 999 call handlers.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) confirmed as many as 40,000 staff, including engineers and call centre workers, will take industrial action on 6, 10, 20, and 24 October after it failed to reach a new pay deal that takes into account the rising cost of living.
BT had offered a £1,500 pay increase for staff at BT, Openreach, Plusnet, and EE, stating that this was an 8% increase for some employees and a rise of 3% for even the best-paid frontline workers. It said that this was the highest pay rise to frontline staff in more than two decades.
However, the CWU says that with inflation now at 10.1%, the offer is effectively a pay cut in real terms.
The dispute led to the first national strikes since BT’s privatisation four decades ago back in July and August and the union says a lack of progress in negotiations means it has no choice but to do so again.
“We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, whilst we respect the right of colleagues to take industrial action, we are profoundly disappointed that the CWU is prepared to take this reckless course of action by including 999 services in strikes,” said a BT spokesperson.
“We will do whatever it takes to protect 999 services – redeploying our people to the most important priority is a normal part of BT Group operations.
“We made the best pay award we could in April, and we have held discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here. In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.”
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