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BT workers have stepped back from the brink of strike action after voting to accept a 3.5 per cent pay rise from the UK telco.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) was on verge of balloting for strike action until it managed to twist BT's arm and force it to increase its pay offer from 2.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

"The company had claimed it couldn't afford more than 2.7 per cent, but CWU negotiators dug their heels in for long and tough negotiations, coming up with a 3.5 per cent offer which was accepted today (1 June) in a ballot of CWU members within the company, by nearly four to one," said the CWU in a statement.

While union officials are no doubt slapping themselves on the back for securing such an impressive pay raise, the CWU's triumph coincided with the publication of BT's annual review and the news that BT's top execs can expect big pay-outs if they stay at the telco.

Chief exec Ben Verwaayen could pocket £2.8m this year as he and other top execs received generous "golden handcuffs" as part of plans to retain senior staff following the departure earlier this year of former BT Retail boss Pierre Danon. ®

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