Worries for home working as possibility of national BT strike grows

Tally over job cuts and website closures might imply first nationwide industrial action since 1987

BT is facing the risk of its very first nationwide strike given that 1987 as a row about prepared job cuts and website closures intensifies.

The Communication Workers Union, which represents 45,000 BT Group staff, will hold the tally in the coming weeks and stated that a yes vote would have a “huge effect” on the network.

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The ballot will cover employees at BT, EE and Openreach, which manages most of the UK’s broadband network, and could lead to walkouts in late spring if passed, at a time when millions of individuals will still be working from house and heavily reliant on their broadband connections.

Andy Kerr, the CWU’s deputy basic secretary, said: “This is a decision we did not want to take. Last year our members provided a big yes vote in a consultative tally however BT Group are still in rejection.

” We want to assure services and the public that we do not wish to see disruptions to services. This action is about protecting our members however likewise it has to do with protecting the service they offer to houses and services.

” My message to BT Group is that our door is still open, and we want to resolve this conflict, however this will require a substantial shift in attitude from the company. My message to our members is to continue supporting their union and prepare to provide an enormous yes vote.”

BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen, wishes to accelerate BT’s shift to fibre broadband and 5G networks, and has actually also gone over the possibility of offering a stake in its Openreach arm. Jan du Plessis suddenly resigned as chairman earlier this month in the middle of claims that Jansen was irritated at the rate of modification.

According to the union, the business wants to close numerous websites throughout the country over the next couple of years and focus the majority of its operations at 30 essential locations.

Dave Ward, the CWU’s basic secretary, stated BT, Openreach and EE staff had been essential workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic: “They have kept the country linked, held together the homeworking transformation and allowed the wheels of the economy to keep moving– all while handling the realities of the pandemic themselves. Their reward from BT Group has actually been the risk of compulsory redundancy or the closure of their office.”

A BT spokesperson said it was going through a period of “immense modification” that would result in it having less staff. “Such change is constantly hard– that’s why we have been discussing our strategies with the unions and will continue to do so.

” We’re disappointed that CWU is considering industrial action, though the union has not started the official commercial action process. We stay dedicated to going over the issues they have actually raised.”

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