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BT workers' union rejects 'derisory' pay offer

Members' mood 'pretty hostile'

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BT staff could be balloted on industrial action if the giant telco continues to dig in its heels over the latest pay claim from the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

The CWU - which represents around 54,000 of BT's 100,000 or so workers - wants an eight per cent increase in wages for its members. BT has rejected this offer reportedly calling it "completely unrealistic". Instead, the former monopoly has said it is prepared to increase wages by 1.6 per cent.

The union has called this figure "derisory" and warned that the mood among members is "pretty hostile". One union official told The Register: "We're at an impasse. BT are refusing to budge. They're digging in their heels. Last year we got an increase in line with inflation - this year we want more."

In a statement the CWU said: "We understand the company has issues with its need to grow new markets to help counter the decline of its traditional markets and with the regulator; but we are also clear that BT is, and remains, a very profitable company.

"BT cannot deliver the transformation it needs without the committed support of its employees. BT has stated that it will not meet our claim for the sake of industrial peace."

If the matter is not resolved the CWU said it is prepared "to take any steps necessary in support of our members pay".

A BT spokesman told us: "BT is looking for the CWU to move significantly from its current claim of eight per cent. Only if the CWU do this can BT move into territory where an agreement may be possible." ®

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