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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 September 2020

Fight BT redundancies

BT office, photo Albert Bridge/CC

BT office, photo Albert Bridge/CC   (Click to enlarge)

A Communication Workers Union (CWU) member

Workers who are employed by BT's Technology division face 190 compulsory redundancies in the biggest programme of compulsory redundancies ever proposed.

The CWU leadership unfortunately accepted that jobs would disappear, and tried to negotiate a 'job swap' arrangement where those selected for compulsory redundancy and didn't want to go could swap with workers in similar jobs who wanted voluntary redundancy.

A deal was almost in place when BT suddenly reduced the amount of severance pay 'job swappers' could get from a maximum of two years' salary to one. This is likely to drastically reduce the number of workers wishing to take voluntary redundancy.

The union made concessions during negotiations, allowing management discretion in assessing the suitability of job swaps and letting them stretch the definition of similar jobs.

BT is being completely vindictive; before the CWU's job swap proposal it would have budgeted for paying the maximum level of redundancy pay. Now it has taken it away because it isn't in complete control of who will be made redundant. It is likely that BT wants to have the complete ability to select the most expensive and awkward workers for redundancy. The CWU's counter-proposal would have cost nothing.

Years of concession bargaining allowed BT to think that the union is weak enough to allow it its own way, and this is the natural consequence.

BT as a whole wants to rationalise its desk-based staff to just 30 locations - which will mean further large scale redundancies. This was unveiled before the Covid pandemic so it can't blame loss of revenue during Covid for this.

It is time to stop concession bargaining and rely on the members' strength and anger rather than the non-existent good nature of senior management.

All proposed redundancies should be met with an industrial action ballot and the widest possible mobilisation of the membership, and BT should be taken back into public ownership.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 30 September 2020:


News

Tory scheme won't halt mass unemployment: mobilise the unions!

Job Support Scheme - too little, too late

Under the microscope

News in brief


International news

Trump's failure over western US wildfires

US: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

South Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women


What we think

Covid restrictions expose Tory splits


Students

Students trapped on Covid campuses speak out

Apprehension about Covid - anger at fees, costs and exploitation


Black History Month

Still crawling at 60: Capitalism has failed Nigeria


Workplace news

Trade unions must fight to put their stamp on events

Usdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

PCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

NHS workers need 15% rise and full funding

Fight BT redundancies

Peterborough CWU have massively voted for strike action


Campaigns and party news

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Labour moved right and left me behind

71,522 raised: We've smashed our target again

Selling the Socialist

Newham: Closed and evicted

Campaign for new King George Hospital wing gets boost

Solidarity not charity


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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