Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has written to the CEO of the BT Group and urged him to get around the table with Communications Workers Union (CWU) representatives to resolve ongoing industrial action over pay.
Gwynne’s intervention comes after the CWU took industrial action on the 29 July and 1 August. The strikes represented the first ever national call centre strike and were related to BT’s decision to impose a £1500 flat payment for all payment bands this year. This decision was made without meaningful consultation with unions and comes off the back of a pay freeze in 2021. This means BT and Openreach workers have suffered real terms pay cuts over the last two years.
Writing in his capacity as MP for Denton and Reddish, Gwynne slammed BT CEO Philip Jansen for refusing to enter negotiations with the CWU. Gwynne also wrote to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport urging her department to do more and ensure BT enters negotiations.
In his letter to Jansen, Gwynne wrote:
“The UK is facing the most profound cost-of-living crisis in a generation, and workers are finding that their pay packets no longer cover their basis needs. This crisis, coupled with the lack of a substantial pay rise for the past three years means that BT and Openreach workers are going home with less in their pocket every month.
I have even heard of one BT workplace setting up a food bank inside a call centre when staff could no longer afford essentials. This is despite BT Group recording record profits, and your own salary increasing by 32% last year. I fail to see how you can justify a salary of £3.5m – 86 times the average salary of a BT Group worker – whilst your staff continue to struggle to make ends meet.
It is imperative that you do your job and get around the table to negotiate.
BT and Openreach workers are key workers, who play an essential role in the running of our economy and the vital rollout of full-fibre broadband. You owe it to BT Group workers, your customers, and the public to help bring an end to this dispute and find a pay deal that is fair to all BT Group workers.”