BT offer: Striking works, but offer not enough

CWU picket line &supporters at BT tower, London, 1.8.22
CWU picket line & supporters at BT tower, London, 1.8.22. Photo by Isai

Socialist Party members in CWU

There are signs of opposition from some sections of the membership of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to the pay offer recommended by the union.

BT labels it as a cost-of-living increase and the union also claims it as a victory.

The reality is that the highest paid workers on BT legacy contracts will only get a rise of approximately 6%, and have pointed out that nothing is guaranteed after September 2023. 

Many members are dissatisfied that the pay rise isn’t backdated, and that a flat-rate offer has created a two-tier workforce.

Socialist Party members are opposed to the divisive nature of the pay offer, but also recognise that the industrial action taken has proved to all members that striking pays.

The pressure of the CWU members, after taking action, has ensured that a vote on the offer is taking place. This didn’t happen last year.

Members have made gains because of the action. But due to the issues we’ve raised, we recommend that members vote to reject.

If the offer is rejected by members, the union must go all-out to win the reballot in the new year, to continue the strike mandate in BT-Openreach. An escalating course of action must then be set out to win a better offer.

As part of this, the union must look to coordinate with its members in Royal Mail, the Post Office, and with the other unions fighting back against the cost-of-living squeeze.

Socialist Party members will tirelessly work to overcome any divisions that the offer may throw up. We will be to the forefront in rebuilding a left grouping in the union that can provide the necessary leadership to build on the BT dispute.