BT and Openreach workers in Brighton join CWU strikes

THOUSANDS of BT and Openreach workers went on strike for a second day over pay disputes.

Workers at an Openreach site in Withdean, Brighton joined many others across the country in striking outside the entrance. They held signs reading “Low pay no way” and “I’m striking for a decent raise.”

The strike is against a wage increase of £1,500 for all employees, which unions say is a real wage cut due to rising inflation.

Argus: Openreach workers in Withdean carried banners demanding a fair wage increaseOpenreach workers in Withdean carried banners demanding a fair wage increase

Chris Power, branch secretary at the Brighton union office, criticized BT’s salary offer, while chief executive Philip Jansen reportedly saw a 32 per cent pay rise.

He said: “BT have refused to speak to the union despite one of their mantras in the past having been that it’s good to talk.

“Meanwhile, they have paid out around £750m to shareholders in recent weeks.”

Chris said many members of the public had come to the picket line to show their support and said it was “time we stood up for working people”.

The CWU encouraged strike supporters to take food to picket lines around the country, which the union delivered to local food banks.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “When corrupt politicians and overpaid bosses are badly neglected, it is workers who look after other workers.

“I have no doubt that the public will show their support for workers and struggling families by picketing, delivering goods and standing shoulder to shoulder with people fighting for dignity.”

The strike is the latest in a nationwide wave of industrial action involving union members, including railroad workers and postal workers.

A spokesman for BT Group said: “Earlier this year we were in extensive discussions with the CWU which lasted two months and made great efforts to reach an agreement on pay.

“When it became clear that we would not reach an agreement, we made the decision to offer our team members and frontline colleagues the highest salary award in more than 20 years.

“We have confirmed to the CWU that we will not be reopening the 2022 salary review after receiving the best possible award.

“We are balancing the complex and competing needs of our stakeholders and this includes one-off investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, which are vital to the UK economy and the future of BT Group, including our employees.

“While we respect the strike decision of our colleagues who are CWU members, we will work to minimize disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.

“We have tried and tested processes for large colleague absences to minimize disruption to our customers and these have proven effective during the pandemic.” BT and Openreach workers in Brighton join CWU strikes

Fry Electronics Team

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