BT strike looks set to go ahead as union rejects pay offer

Thousands of BT staff are almost certain to go on strike next month after their union rejected the firm’s latest pay offer.

Earlier in the week, the telecommunications giant increased its offer of a 2% pay award for staff in 2010 to a 2% rise this year followed by a 3% rise next year.

But the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has dismissed this offer saying there was “no material change” and accused BT of “blatant double standards”.

The BT workers represented by the CWU are angry they have been offered a below-inflation award while senior executives have been granted increases in excess of 7%, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

The union has already begun preparations for the first national strike against BT in 23 years,

Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the CWU, said: “As we’ve made clear, 2% is unacceptable for our members as it does not reflect the reward they expect given the contribution they have made to cost savings of £1.75bn and profits of over £1bn.

“In addition, inflation is at 5.3% and staff are comparing this offer with the large salary rises and bonuses for senior executives, which expose the blatant double standards being adopted by the company when it comes to remuneration.”

Ian Livingston, BT’s chief executive, received a bonus of more than £1.2m last year as his total pay exceeded £2m. He was also granted £1.2m worth of shares if he stays with the company for three years. Tony Chanmugam, finance director, and Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail, each collected £1.1m last year, and have been granted pay rises of 7.4% and 5% respectively.

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