BT COULD be set on a collision course with its workers' CWU union. Leaders of the telecom section of the union broke off key negotiations with the company last week, and called on national union leaders to authorise a ballot of BT workers on action. The spark was the company trampling on agreed procedures over the use of outside contractors.
BT wants to hand its Facilities Management Services division over to an outside contractor. The move could threaten 1,500 jobs among those who supervise and manage BT buildings and depots around the country. The company has infuriated the union by refusing even to allow an "in-house" bid for the contract. "It's a real slap in the face for the union," says one BT worker. The telecom executive of the CWU union has voted to call for a ballot on action. And it has also broken off negotiations over the company's NewGRID restructuring plan.