Today is a significant moment in time for our union and our members. The CWU has called a Day of Action across the UK, where members, despite Covid restrictions, will come together in their thousands to protest against BT Group’s programme of compulsory redundancies and site closures.
Furthermore, in an end to decades of industrial stability, we are today announcing the timetable for a national consultative ballot covering every member working across BT Group.
Our members have kept the country connected during this pandemic. They have put the customer first by entering premises to install and repair broadband, they have been on the end of the phone for worried members of the public, taken lifesaving 999 calls and kept the UK online. They deserve better from their employer than facing the sack.
BT maybe privatised but we believe the right of access to broadband is a public concern. Our members serve the public and businesses of the UK, and they are proud to do so.
At a moment when the home working revolution is taking place, people need fast broadband more than ever. The opportunity is there to show ambition and grow the company, yet we are seeing BT embark on nothing but a profit and shareholder-driven race to the bottom.
Our members have played a critical role in the success of BT Group in recent years. The CWU has negotiated settlements on pay, pensions and job security but something has changed. Management have stopped engaging the union and are attempting to remove our members’ voice by enforcing drastic change.
Let me be absolutely clear – this is not something our union will let happen unchallenged. My message to our members is simple: vote yes in the national consultative ballot and ask your colleagues to do the same. It is only by standing shoulder to shoulder with your union that we will move the company.
My message to BT is even clearer – reach a mutually agreeable solution to this dispute and stop implementing change without agreement from the CWU, or you will face an official industrial action ballot in the near future and strike action is inevitable.
So many groups of workers have rightfully drawn the praise of the public during 2020. Our inspirational NHS, our CWU colleague postal workers, those in retail and many more. Those working on and around broadband are the silent heroes. They have enabled your work calls, Zoom quizzes (maybe you won’t thank us for that!) and helped to maintain family contact with your loved ones.
Our members need your support. On November 5th, post on social media using the hashtag #CountMeIn. If you see a BT, Openreach or EE worker let them know they have your support and crucially, ask them to vote yes!