back to article Communication Workers Union to hold national ballot for members at BT, Openreach and EE over strike action

For the first time since 1987, the Communication Workers Union is to run a national ballot of unionised workers at BT Group to test their appetite for strike action over job losses, office closures and more. Karen Rose, president of the CWU confirmed the decision last night, saying the union had “tried everything possible to …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "BT reckons it needs to transform because financial results have stagnated in recent years as it focused on the UK, consumers and the network"

    I remember it trying to focus on non-regulated sectors back in the '90s. That didn't go well either.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Big mistake

      "financial results have stagnated in recent years as it focused on the UK, consumers and the network"

      It's obviously ridiculous for a UK comms network provider to concentrate on the UK, its network and its customers. Nobody makes money by providing an essential service. How dumb could the Board have been to even think of it?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Big mistake

        Boring, predictable returns aren't fashionable. Dividends aren't fashionable. Confected capital growth is what it's all about - until it crashes again.

  2. djstardust

    BT

    Are a horrible horrible company. Poor customer service and constant price increases. My mate works at EE and has been treated very unfairly lately.

    For example in April, if you have a new EE contract the increase will be RPI plus 3.9%. How the hell is this justified?

    I stipped using BT a few years ago and would never ever go back (although I guess my broadband provider is still using their infrastructure unfortunatey)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT

      if you have a new EE contract the increase will be RPI plus 3.9%. How the hell is this justified?

      Ask Ofcom. They set the rules, not BT.

      1. Shez

        Re: BT

        OFCOM's rules is about the maximum charge, BT/EE and the other operators don't need to take full advantage of that every year.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: BT

      "I guess my broadband provider is still using their infrastructure unfortunatey"

      Helloooo SpaceX

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public utility should be provided by public entity.

    You guys had it right before Thatcher.

    Telecom should be publicly owned. Private companies should be prohibited from competing.

    Re-nationalize British Telecom. It's the only answer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

      Oh, and while you're at it, fix your railroad problem.

      Talk about a mistake.

      Re-nationalize that mess too.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

        Only someone who doesn't remember our old state owned/run services would say that. It's notable that when you see vox pop bits on the news about train fare increases - it's always young(ish) people calling for it to be re-nationalised.

        So what did the nationalised Post Office give us ?

        Well to start with, with very few exceptions you could only connect a phone that they approved and mostly rented to you. You had some choice, but not a lot.

        If you wanted a new phone line, then they'd provide it, probably, eventually - typically the waiting list was months. And if they were running short of copper pairs, they wouldn't pull a new cable in to increase supply - they'd put you on a party line. For those who've never had the "joy" of a party line, you had to pick the phone up and listen to see if the other party was using the line - in our case, we shared a line with a couple of old spinsters a few doors up the street. If you heard voices, you apologised and put the phone down. If you heard nothing, you'd press a button (Earth Loop Recall) to activate the exchange and give you a dial tone.

        And of course, in real terms, it cost a lot more than it does these days to have a phone.

        Now, for the trains ...

        Well we mostly had ancient dirty rolling stock, calling (if it ran at all) at dirty and run down stations, manned by (in many cases) DGAS staff who were both p'eed off with working conditions but also secure in the knowledge that it was hard for mangement to try and sack them - lest the unions walk out and bring the country to a halt.

        The "passenger experience" could be summed up by the intro to this piece : https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/when-show-business-means-new-business/514715

        That's not to say that privatisation has been 100% successful. But it made a huge difference to both telecomms and rail. Re-nationalisation would be a disaster.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

          "Now, for the trains ..."

          What did you expect when post 1948 what had happened was the British Leyland model (several competing companies rammed together under one roof with all the old managewment and rivalries failing to be removed, so treating each other as "the enemy" instead of looking outside the organisation where the dangers really lay)

          Add 30 years of failure to invest and the result was inevitable. The fact that sucessive transport ministers had heavily family investments in road transport industries was "entirely coincidental" as they say (if you believe this, I have a drawbridge over the Thames to sell you)

          The current open cronyism and graft in the British government (most visible since Regency days) is only notable for being OPEN. It's been like this for decades

      2. Chris Hills

        Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

        It seems likely that this will happen as the government has already made plans to get rid of the existing failing franchisees.

        https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/get-it-says-rmt-it-uncovers-oven-ready-blueprint-public-rail

    2. JohnG

      Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

      "Re-nationalize British Telecom. It's the only answer."

      The GPO was a real shitshow. Having chosen and stuck with the wrong type of telephone exchange hardware, their telephone network was unable to digitise for years and customers were left with ridiculous rotary dial telelephones when the rest of the developed world had moved on. Tone dialling and numerous other features like "redial" were simply unavailable. There was a monopoly on telephone wiring, allowing the GPO to charge what they like and force customers to wait months for a new line. The same applied if you wanted to have a telephone moved from one desk to another (telephones were hard wired - no plugs and sockets and it was illegal to interefere with telephone wiring). If you wanted to connect your own telephone the GPO would check it first and then charge you £15 extra per month for you to use your own telephone - at a time when average weekly pay was about £50 a week.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

        "The GPO was a real shitshow."

        What britain FORCED on its ottawa agreement partners via "buy british" policies was also a shitshow.

        The NZPO signed an agreement in 1971 to purchase a bunch of NEC crossbar exchanges but were forced to buy STC equipment via UK and NZ government interference. That ended up costing 5 timres as much to install due to it not working as supplied and not doing things that the NEC kit did as standard without EXPESNIVE "optional" extras (a bit like how cabin heating was an optional extra in a 1970s British car, but you couldn't actually BUY a British car without a heater.....)

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Public utility should be provided by public entity.

      no need to renationalise

      The issue is the vertically integrated monopoly and that's WHY New Zealoand cleaved the BT model when TCNZ offered it up - that cleaving was done by the Ministry of Commerce (not the comms regulator(*)) after detailing the economic damage that allowing rent-seekign behaviour had done in New Zealand AND the UK

      Look at what's happened to Spark/Chorus over the last few years as a guide to what PROPERLY SEPARATED lines and serboices companies would be like

      (*) Just like OFCOM, the NZ comms regulator was bleating that there was nothing wrong with the regulatory model and competition was working fine - which EMPHASISES that comms regulators need to stick with what they understand (technical regulation) instead of attempting to operate in areas well beyond their competence and training (competition, market manipulation and preventing anti-competitive/cartel behaviour)

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