BT staff back staging vote on industrial action over jobs and conditions

Telecoms giant BT is facing an increased threat of industrial action after workers said they would support having a vote on strikes in a dispute over jobs and conditions.

A consultative ballot of members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) returned a 97% decision in favour of moving to a formal vote on industrial action.

The union said more than 74% of its 45,000 members across the BT Group took part in the consultation.

Deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “For a long time, BT Group have been claiming that our union does not speak for the employees and that people are happy with the direction of the company.

“This result shows how laughable those claims are and have always been. This moment should act as a reality check for management and it gives them one final chance to avoid a massive industrial dispute in 2021.

“Our members – many of them key workers – have made it crystal clear today that they will not support an agenda of compulsory redundancies, site closures and the race to the bottom on terms and conditions.

“The CWU will be seeking an urgent meeting with BT to resolve this dispute and avoid disruption to the great service our members provide and customers receive.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward added: “As with so many companies across the UK, BT are only interested in being in line with market competition, profit and shareholder dividends.

“Our union has a different vision – one of secure, well-paid, UK-based jobs, good terms and conditions and a service the UK can be proud of. We are today giving management the opportunity to return to the negotiating table with a serious offer to resolve this dispute.

“The message from our members could not be clearer – the ball is in BT’s court.”