Telecoms giant BT is facing a pay claim that could add more than £300m to its payroll costs.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) is demanding that the company, which has over 100,000 staff, grant its workers an 8% pay rise.
The union said the claim reflected the fact that BT’s profits had grown to £1.09bn for the last interim period and that the company’s board and shareholders enjoyed significant payouts over the past year.
The statement, sent to CWU members last week, added: “Our claim of 8% meets our need to ensure that we raise your level of income realistically while still being well within the company’s affordability.”
About 70,000 of BT’s staff – out of 86,000 in the UK – are CWU members. Since being privatised, BT has not made a single compulsory redundancy and is known for its good relationship with unions.
If BT bows to the union’s demand, the increase in costs would equal about 15% of the group’s expected £2bn pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March 2005.
It is understood that BT is confident an amiable agreement can be reached.