999 call handlers among BT and Openreach workers set for fresh strike

BT has said it will not be reopening its 2022 pay review

Published

Thousands of BT and Openreach workers will stage a fresh strike on Monday in a long running dispute over pay.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said around 40,000 of its members, including BT Group’s 999 emergency call handlers, will walk out following stoppages in recent months.

More strikes will be held on October 20 and 24 if the deadlocked row is not resolved.

BT employees including emergency call handlers take part in a strike in Co. Armagh. The workers in Co Armagh have joined hundreds of BT/Openreach colleagues at picket lines in protest against a pay offer from management slammed as an effective "pay cut". Picture date: Thursday October 6, 2022.
BT employees including emergency call handlers take part in a strike in Co. Armagh. The workers in Co Armagh have joined hundreds of BT/Openreach colleagues at picket lines in protest against a pay offer from management slammed as an effective "pay cut". Picture date: Thursday October 6, 2022.

The strikes by BT call centre workers and Openreach engineers are in protest against a flat-rate pay rise of £1,500, which the union described as “incredibly low” because of soaring inflation.

BT has said it will not be reopening its 2022 pay review.

Dave Ward, general secretary of the union, said: “This dispute is modern Britain in a nutshell: Lives are at risk because a company’s top brass won’t listen to workers.

“999 operators are using food banks, they’re worried about the cost of living and are being stretched to the limit.

BT has said it will not be reopening its 2022 pay review.
BT has said it will not be reopening its 2022 pay review.

“Goodwill won’t pay the bills, and vital services are now being hampered because of corporate greed.

“BT management clearly has no appreciation of its workforce, or their social value.”

A BT Group spokesperson said: “We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and whilst we respect the right of colleagues to take industrial action, we are profoundly disappointed that the CWU is prepared to take this reckless course of action by including 999 services in strikes.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect 999 services – redeploying our people to the most important priority is a normal part of BT Group operations.”