Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/27/02_cwu/

O2 workers barred from AGM, says CWU

Oh no they're not, says O2

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Mobile, 27th July 2005 10:34 GMT

O2 employees who also own shares in the cellco have been prevented from appearing at the company's AGM today, according to the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

Reuters reports that union officials claim the ban has been put in place because of an ongoing pay dispute between staff and O2.

But a spokesman for O2 rejected the accusation telling The Register: "It's not true. All shareholders - including employees - are welcome to attend."

This latest scuffle between O2 and the CWU comes as the union is urging its 3,000 or so members who work at O2 to reject the company's final pay offer.

The ballot closes on Friday and the result is due to be announced early next week. If the pay offer is rejected then it could lead to a walk-out at the mobilephoneco.

Last month the CWU accused execs at O2 of being "fat cat" directors who have been "busy awarding themselves massive pay rises" while some staff haven't received a pay rise for at least seven years.

Senior union official Dave Johnson told the CWU's Telecoms Industry Conference in Blackpool: "They [the workers] are angry, and with every justification, at a board of directors who hypocritically seek to depress the wages of our members whilst at the same time awarding themselves significant increases in their own salaries and fees.

"There are many ways of describing this application of double standards...'the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer' is one; 'fat cats and feathered nests' also spring to mind."

Union officials are due to picket today's shareholder meeting with giant tins of cat food saying: "Nine out of 10 fat cats prefer O2."

In March the CWU said it was "shocked and dismayed" at an announcement by O2 that the mobile phone company planned to cut up to 500 jobs. ®

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