back to article BT reaches deadlock with union

BT faces a strike ballot after it failed to reach an agreement in a pay dispute with engineers by today's noon deadline. Some 55,000 members of the Communication Workers Union at BT will now vote on their first industrial action in more than 20 years. The union had set a 12pm deadline for BT to improve on its offer of a two …


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  1. Pirate Peter

    bonuses do not add to basic pay

    "performance-based payments are its favoured approach."

    yep because they do not add to basic salary so they are basically a way of implimenting a pay freeze

    all this when the top brass award themselves an inflation busting payrise and big bonuses

    time for the shareholders to vote down the boards renumeration package until it is fair across the board, oh sorry that won't happen old boys club and everything


  2. TkH11


    BT faces a strike ballot after it failed to reach an agreement in a pay dispute with engineers by today's noon deadline.

    Some 55,000 members of the Communication Workers Union at BT

    if they're members of the Communication Workers union then they're unlikely to be engineers. They're more likely to be technicians.

    We in this country are one of the few countries that respect the the title "Engineer".

    As a professional engineer, I find it insulting that I am lumped in with guys that make a few wire connections to a Krone rack in a street side distribution cabinet.

    1. Dr. Mouse


      The post is required, and must contain letters.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Big boys paid more - crazy

    Wow, you mean to say the people at the top with more responsibility on their shoulders get more money? That's just crazy talk...

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      I dont thikn thats the objection, tiger...

      The objection is that the staff get 2%, and the boss gets 6%. Even taking into account performance based pay rises, ive never heard of someone (excluding management-types) getting a 6% rise.

      In my company if you get the absolute best rating imaginable so that you get the highest possible payrise you still top out at 4.5% (the more likely is 2.5-3%). If i knew that the CEO was getting 6% i too would be going to the picket line.

      1. Elmer Phud

        percentage game

        6% of a lot is quite a bit

        2% of not much is bugger all

    2. The Original Steve


      It's a PERCENT they are after - not a fixed amount.

      According to the Times last year Ian Livingstone is on £850,000. So 6% gives him an increase of £51,000.

      Think the average pay in the UK is around the £21,000 mark, so 6% would be an £1,260 increase.

      So the CEO will get a £51k pay increase, plus a £1.2 million bonus. The workers will get £420 pay increase and a performance related bonus of some sorts. (Anyone actually think the staff get into 4 figures for their bonus?)

      Nobody is saying that a techie or office staff should be on the same as the CEO. Nor is anyone saying they should get the same pay increase in terms of sterling. All most people are saying is that it's VERY unfair to give 6% to a few and 2% to the majority.

      If BT are all for performance related pay then why not offer 4.5% for everyone and then performance related on top of that?

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

      What responsibility? If the company folds or does badly the big shots just move on to another big job (likely with a big golden goodbye and a golden handshake on the other end), but given the cuts it should be every worker in the trenches that deserve a reward.

      There's nothing smart or reward worthy about some management dick demanding that the workers delivery more revenue while jobs are being axed within the same company; that the workers knuckled down and worked even harder with less resources should see them rewarded... but of course not, which is why army generals are forever picking up Victoria Crosses for shouldering the responsibility of ordering about fine bodies of men... right?

      Oh, and on the subject of 2% vs 6%, I'll take 2% of 200,000 over 6% of 20,000 anytime.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "BT has said staff have received higher bonuses this year".

    I haven't had any bonus yet this year. (So does that mean I'll get a better pay rise instead? Fat f&^%$ing chance!)

    Probably I'll get neither (Opinion based on my few years experience here).

    And in reply to AC about more responsibility for more reward : Bollox again.

    See the idiot french chap who bankrupted Global Services and nearly the whole company got about 3 million quid golden handshake to sod off and leave us alone. There is no "responsibility" up there, it's quite simply do what you feel or what everyone one else is doing and then take the money and run as soon as it's on offer.

    I would willingly swap places.

  5. Rogerborg


    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    Bright side, if 55,000 BT rack monkeys go on strike, it could cause millions of pounds of improvements to the network.

  6. Roger Stenning

    It's not just about pay freezes...

    Think about it: You pay into your pension, and it's based on contributions. A bonus isn't generally taken into the calculations. And if you're still on a final pay scheme (thank yer lucky stars) then bonuses aren't taken into account either. Another way to stuff the employees.

    Same old same old Rip Off Britain.

  7. James 47
    Thumb Down

    Why not just buy shares in your employer?

    Get some of that 6% dividend

    1. Red Bren

      The Marie Antoinette solution

      Not everyone has the spare cash to gamble on the stock market. And putting all your financial eggs in one basket isn't wise. Should your employer go belly up*, you lose your job and your savings.

      Of course BT could always give their employees shares...

      *Admittedly unlikely in BT's case

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the Bank of England cannot keep to its target of 2% inflation why should people take significant real cuts in pay? Get a decent Bank of England governor (shame steady Eddie is dead) and we might get somewhere.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good luck to em

    I'm not defending BT here, I'm defending the BT workers.

    As someone who regularly comes into contact with many people from many defferent departments of BT Retail and BT Openreach I have to say that the works really have had the shit parade droppedon them many times in the last 2-3 years.

    Time was when being a BT engineer was a fantastic job that included a great salary, great prospects alas now each engineer is given unrealistic targets, micro managment and now even a poorer salary than in the rest of the private sector.

    Mnay engineers are beaten on a aily basis about performance and timescales and it's little wonder that mistakes are made and the customer suffers.

    Time to drop many of the BT middle management and let the engineers get on the their jobs. Stop putting unachieveable targets on them and things get done.

    I say good luck to them and if they can get rid of the stupid middle management then a +2% pay rise is not much to ask...esp when their seniors are getting 70%+ bonues!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No fan of unions

    But i have had the misfortune to bump into the upper echelons of BT in a work capacity. They may be nice people in their own world but to an outside contractor they certainly seemed very very arrogant about themselves, their abilities and the fact that it was armies of pen pushers who were really making anything the management mused about, happen.

    And to the muppet who said "Big boys paid more - crazy" - maybe you should look up HOW percentages work, the big boys will always get more anyway, its a PERCENTAGE.

  11. theloon

    Of Course the Union left out the Pension Pot top up!!

    Yes of course the Union likes to forget that BT has continued to top up the massive pension pot hole, which is does not have to do.

    Despite the almost 1 billion £s which will have been added to it over 2 years those same workers who will benefit form it are going on strike and complaining that life is not fair for only a 2% rise and 500£ bonus and an almost guarenteed job for life.

    The sense of entitlement is a disgrace in the country.

    The fact that we are in a major recession seems to have escaped most people at BT. You are lucky to have a damn job you idiots...

    If you want better pay and benefits then look for a better job and be prepared to retrain and move locations like the rest of us, who btw don't have final salary pension or job for life.

    1. Red Bren

      Sense of entitlement?

      "BT has continued to top up the massive pension pot hole, which is does not have to do."

      Pensions are a contractual part of the employees' pay and benefits. BT do have to fill the deficit, or try and negotiate their way out of their liabilities. And under whos management did the deficit appear?

      "The fact that we are in a major recession seems to have escaped most people at BT. You are lucky to have a damn job you idiots..."

      The country may be in a recession, but BT are obviously weathering it and even making a profit. Why are you so upset that BT employees are demanding a fair share of the spoils for their hard work? If you can't negotiate better pay, a final salary pension and job security for yourself, perhaps you should try joining a union?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      What final salary?

      Okie, one by one:

      * Most BT workers (99.99% say) in common with all private sector employees have the usual lump sum to live from, with the lump size largely dictated by the market, and this has been the case since the mid-nineties. All workers are working hard to scrape a pension of their own while also working hard to help filing in a pension hole/crisis that they had no say in.

      * Granted no company is compelled by law to keep their pension pots in sane order (presumably as this is foolishly taken as a common sense given), but as was the common practice the pension pot became a nice little stash of cash to dip in to for dividends in lean years and for growing the companies assets. Too many companies dipped too often and BT is admirable attempting to make up for greed and shortsightedness of previous boards by honoring their promises and not sending 100,000s of pensioners in to poverty, i.e., on to the state pension.

      * What is a job for life these days? Working hard and making yourself indispensable will help a lot (as will dirt on the boss), but times change and only a fool believes that their boss or their role will be there for anything more than 10 years (less when technology is involved).

      * This major recession (which could have been "the Greatest Depression" had public money not been pumped in like there was a war on) was caused by a lot of ridiculously paid idiots in the city and their bosses. The idiots are still being ridiculously rewarded, but only so long as everyone else works their ass off to plug the huge hole in public finances that kept financiers afloat and banks open without any nataionalisation nor any money returned... still mustn't grumble... :^(

      * Only the lucky or foolish jump jobs in a recession, but if we are out of recession there really should be no need to move job as you should sensible expect pay to increase at a reasonable rate, i.e., approaching inflation not half the rate.

      To be honest the strike action seems more based on (as overs have written here) previous years of poor employee relations, so hopefully BT will be able to sort out something that builds bridges, something that couldn't happen without a union to represent the considerably large BT workforce.

    3. I didn't do IT.

      Re: Sense of Entitlement

      The Sense of Entitlement you speak of is highlighted by the leadership of the company, who are paid to lead by example. If they get 6%, everyone should get 6%.

      If they want to run it like a communist stalag, then run it like one. If the lowest pay increase is 2% (even if it is less than inflation - there are very few jobs that get pay raises that keep up with, let alone outpace, inflation), then EVERYONE should get the same pay raise percentage. Bonuses should be based on % of pay, not set monetary amounts - and if it is calculated for taxes, benefits, etc, then it better damn well be calculated for retirement!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hang on guys?




    As a customer I hope BT weathers the storm using bonus payments and surely individuals can voluntarily contribute to pension from the bonus?

    I take the point that bonus-pension-salary level do have issues but in these financial times even a 2% increase seems quite generous.

    Shame about the board though.

    I do believe the best companies are those with active shareholder participation rather than passive passiveness.

  13. Graham 25

    Man and a Dog

    The last time BT engineers went on strike, network reliability improved. We joked at the time that maintenance was better carried out by a man and a dog, and that the dog was there to keep the man away from the equipment. Sad but true.

  14. Geeza


    Couple of corrections if I may.

    The union is balloting for industrial action - this covers all action upto and including a strike, a yes vote will not automatically mean a strike.

    This is not the first time in 20 years there has been a vote for industrial action, in 2003 there was 3x 1 day walkouts planned, this was only stopped when BT got a high court injunction to stop the action.

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