The CEO of BT has been accused of “running from his responsibilities” as 999 emergency call handlers are set to walk out alongside call centre workers and engineers as strikes continue.
Disruption to emergency services is expected on Thursday as tens of thousands of members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU), including hundreds of 999 call handlers, will walk out.
Striking in opposition to company management’s imposition of an “incredibly low” flat-rate pay rise of £1,500, around 30,000 Openreach engineers and 10,000 BT call centre workers have taken strike action over the summer, putting a wide array of national infrastructure at risk.
The union, which represents BT Group workers, has accused CEO Philip Jansen of refusing to engage in pay negotiations and “running from his responsibilities”.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Thursday will see another day of needless disruption because a boss is happy to wreck workers’ livelihoods and run away from his responsibilities.
“Philip Jansen won’t justify his decision to put workers into serious hardship – and risk further lives – because he can’t.
“The result of this is 999 emergency call handlers once again joining BT Openreach engineers and call centre workers out on strike.
“A company that made more than £1bn in profit – and a boss who gave himself a 32% pay rise – cannot and should not be ignoring these people.
“This is a crisis that BT management cannot keep on hiding from.
“When they decide to get round the table and negotiate a fair deal to end this dispute, the CWU will be waiting.”
CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “When the 999 callers are out on strike, you know something is going very wrong in this country.
“Time and time again, we have asked for negotiations to resolve what is a dangerous dispute – only to be ignored.
“But BT Group workers are sick of this corporate arrogance, and they are determined and united.
“They will fight hard to get the proper pay rise and the dignity that they deserve.”
BT Group has been contacted for comment.