LONDON (SHARECAST) - BT will find out later today whether it faces strike action when the result of a ballot of 50,000 CWU union members is published later.
A pay row has been escalating for months, with the telecoms giant’s last offer rejected by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the biggest union representing BT staff.
The CWU want a 5% increase in wages for its BT members, but the company wants to spread the cost.
It has offered 2% more this year and another 3% next year, but that’s not good enough for the CWU, which his preparing to lead the first national strike at BT since 1987.
The earliest date any walkout could take place is 12 July.
The ballot closes today, and BT, which made over £1bn in the 12 months to March, has been warned by the CWU that any legal challenge to the ballot will not solve the dispute.
"We are seeking an affordable and reasonable pay rise for our members in BT who have contributed heavily to the success of the company during a difficult couple of years,” Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said last month.
"We are amazed at the aggressive attitude of BT bosses in the face of blatant double standards. The company's claim that a 5 per cent pay rise for staff would lead to cutting back and making redundancies is an unbelievable fat-cat excuse.”
“We're confident that our members will vote yes in this ballot, despite the scare tactics of the company.”
BT boss Ian Livingstone is set to get a 6% rise this year, although 4% is promised to charity, while finance director Tony Chanmugam is in line for 7%.