Workers at British Telecom (BT) were to vote on strike action unless bosses raised their paltry 2 percent pay offer by Friday of this week.
Furious delegates to last week’s Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference unanimously agreed to ballot their 60,000 members at the firm for action. They are demanding a rise of 5 percent.
Conference delegate Colin, who has worked for BT for 19 years, told Socialist Worker that the mood at work is bitter.
“BT made profits of almost £6 billion last year. We’re being offered peanuts while directors are raking-in cash,” he said.
“We’ve had a pay freeze for the past two-years. Now they want us to accept a rise less than half the rate of inflation.
“People at my place are always trying to get overtime to make ends meet. But BT has been cutting back on that, so now lots of us really struggle just to pay the bills.
“If we end up on strike, it will be for the first time since 1985.”
Colin describes the mood of the conference as “very determined”.
“We were really lifted when hundreds of delegates from the union’s postal conference came into our hall to cheer us on,” he said.
“As union reps, we are going to have to work hard to get a good yes vote in a ballot—and I think we can.
“Lots of people are worried about their jobs, and about losing money. But there is a lot of anger at the company we can work on. We must now go out and convince the membership that we can win.”