Thousands of workers from BT and Openreach are set to hold their first strike since 1987 on Friday in a dispute over pay – the day after the company revealed that its revenues increased to £5.1bn in the three months to June 30.
On Thursday, BT revealed its first sales growth for five years as it benefited from price increases for customers earlier this year.
The group said it was also boosted by more people signing up for fibre-optic broadband and strong trading in its Openreach network business.
The telecoms giant told shareholders that revenues increased by 1% to £5.1bn for the three months to June 30.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said that the strikes on Friday will be the first national telecoms strike since 1987 and the biggest ever among call centre workers.
In Scotland, pickets are planned for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Galashiels, Perth, Livingston, Portlethen, Elgin, Inverness, Thurso, Stirling, Oban, Paisley, Ayr, Symington, Ardrossan, Kilmarnock, Kirkcaldy, Dumbarton and Dumfries.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “BT Group are now gaslighting our members.
“Announcing hundreds of millions of pounds in profit on the eve of the first national strike since 1987 smacks of arrogance and complete contempt for frontline workers.
“BT workers have hundreds of picket lines arranged across the UK tomorrow, and will support the CWU in delivering mass strike action.
“This dispute sits squarely at the feet of chief executive Philip Jansen. He represents everything that needs to change about big business in Britain.
“Our members kept the country connected during the pandemic. They deserve a proper pay rise, and that’s what they’re going to get.
“This is one of the worst examples of the corporate greed that people are so fed up with in Britain today.
“Workers at BT Group will never accept their bosses using Swiss banks while they use food banks. They deserve a proper pay rise, like all workers do.”
A BT Group spokesperson said: “At the start of this year, we were in exhaustive discussions with the CWU that lasted for two months, trying hard to reach an agreement on pay.
“When it became clear that we were not going to reach an accord, we took the decision to go ahead with awarding our team member and frontline colleagues the highest pay award in more than 20 years, effective April 1.
“We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be reopening the 2022 pay review, having already made the best award we could.
“We’re balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders and that includes making once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, vital for the UK economy and for BT Group’s future – including our people.
“While we respect the choice of our colleagues who are CWU members to strike, we will work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.
“We have tried and tested processes for large-scale colleague absences to minimise any disruption for our customers and these were proved during the pandemic.”
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