BT offers staff £1,500 to end pay dispute

BT and EE have launched a new recruitment drive to hire 1,000 UK based contact centre staff by April 2022.

BT has offered the majority of its staff an extra £1,500 pay rise on top of an increase in April, bringing to an end a bitter pay dispute that led to the company’s first strikes in 35 years.

Staff earning £50,000 or less will receive the £1,500 pay increase from January 1, which is expected to benefit about 85 per cent of workers at Britain’s biggest telecoms group.

In April BT staff received a £1,500 cost of living pay rise. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) led industrial action against BT to try to have the pay rise renegotiated.

About 40,000 BT staff who were members of the union went on strike for eight days, BT’s first strikes since 1987 that were said to have lost the company tens of thousands of customers.

Philip Jansen, the chief executive of BT Group, said: “This award is based on the principles we have followed throughout this difficult period.” He added that the pay rise “favours our lower-paid colleagues and gives people the security of a built-in, pensionable increase to their pay”.

The increase will be paid to all frontline employees including retail staff, engineers and call-centre workers, with about 51 per cent of managers also receiving the pay increase.

BT said the CWU and Prospect unions would recommend that members vote in favour of the offer in a ballot next month. Including the earlier pay increase, staff benefiting from the increases will have had a wage rise of between 6 per cent and 16 per cent.

The CWU said strike action over the pay rise in April had “forced BT back around the negotiating table”.

BT said it was still committed to running a pay review for UK staff in 2023 but it would be pushed back from April to September and take account of the latest wage increase.

This month Jansen said that BT was preparing to cut further jobs in the face of inflationary pressures, provoking renewed criticism from unions. BT has a cost savings target of £3 billion by the 2025 financial year in the face of inflationary pressures.