Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/569/7022
Stop bullying at BT
Hundreds of BT engineers and members of CWU Solent branch, staged a mass demo in Southampton on 28 February to protest at the highly aggressive approach at work by BT managers over performance targets and sickness.
"Workers with decades of exemplary service to the company have been threatened and tagged as under performers and threatened with dismissal. Others have had pay increases withheld or reduced for the crime of being sick," stated the CWU leaflet. BT is currently seeking redundancies, but sacking people who face disciplinaries is obviously much cheaper.
So severe is the bullying that the BT managers' union, Connect, is working in solidarity with CWU because senior managers are bullying managers as well for not disciplining BT workers!
All these attacks are part of a pilot introduced in the Solent region based on increasing productivity. Speaking to workers on the demo, all that management appear to be increasing is the level of anger: "Our cabs are fitted with a 'tracker' device. It's a spy in the cab to see where we are, when we're on the move, and when we're not. They won't trust us to get on and do a job we've done well for years."
At the rally, CWU national executive members outlined the root cause of the problem as part of the current economic crisis: "Bullying management arises out of the crisis, out of competition with companies trying to drive each other out of business. The unions cut across this where we work in solidarity."
Reflecting the change in the economy the loudest cheer met the call for an economy run in the interest of workers and not greedy bankers. Solent CWU are on the march again on 7 March in Bournemouth.
Messages of support can be sent to CWU Office, Winton TE, Wycliffe Road, Bournemouth BH9 1JP.
In The Socialist 4 March 2009:
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party feature
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party women
International socialist news and analysis