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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 December 2020

Openreach and EE: Massive vote for action in consultative ballot

Telecoms Worker Photo: Johnnie Parkington/CC

Telecoms Worker Photo: Johnnie Parkington/CC   (Click to enlarge)

CWU members in BT

Openreach and EE (now owned by BT) CWU members have retuned a massive 97.9% 'yes' vote on a 74% turnout in a consultative ballot on whether they wish to take industrial action against compulsory redundancies, site closures, reduction of terms and conditions, and a race to the bottom.

For decades the no compulsory redundancy agreement has been the jewel in the crown of the BT unions' achievements, but the realities of crisis-ridden capitalism, weak union leadership, and the neverending greed of the bosses, mean that these are luxuries they can dispense with.

If the bosses get their own way, the consequences for workers could be severe. Not only will some people lose their jobs, site closures will result in many engineers who need lighter indoor duties having no other job to go to and being made redundant.

The employers' proposals are not driven by operational needs but by the greed of the bosses. BT and Openreach have been giving work which should be done in-house to contractors, and are busy recruiting new staff on inferior terms and conditions. Since the time that BT bought EE, it has been attempting to level down pay and conditions to the inferior EE ones.

This is part of a planned attack on pay, jobs, and terms and conditions, and must be resisted. The CWU wants to use this ballot result to persuade the company that its proposals are so unpopular that they will be scrapped.

The bosses may think that the union leadership is sufficiently weak to cave in. Socialist Party members believe that the time spent on this consultative ballot would have been better spent mobilising for an industrial action ballot.

But if the employer does not back down by the beginning of 2021, the CWU should build on this magnificent vote and organise a legal industrial action ballot to halt these attacks on telecom workers.

As long as telecoms companies are privately owned and run for profit, there will be attempts to attack workers. The only way to remove this threat and stop the continuous race to the bottom is to nationalise the entire industry under democratic workers' control and management. The union should raise this policy amongst the membership.

The plan to reduce office-based sites from 300 to 30 is a massive issue and will have devastating effects on workers' lives, adding up to two to three hours to a working day with travel time.

CWU members have made it clear in an amazing ballot result - at a time when face-to-face branch meetings could not take place - that they will not accept the current management attacks on their jobs and terms and conditions of service.

BT needs to back off or deal with the consequences.

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In The Socialist 16 December 2020:


News

Unemployment and Covid rising - the crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Mass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

Fight for NHS pay and funding

Rich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

No to Tories' new anti-protest law

Maternity unit deaths - democratic, public ownership needed

Met police investigate British mercenary war crimes against Tamils

No surprise, poverty is rising


Education

Cancel exams for class of Covid

Welsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Effective testing and properly funded safety plan needed in schools

East London shows the way: strikes are how to fight for state education

Determined strikers at Leaways school


Workplace News

Openreach and EE: Massive vote for action

PCS union conference stripped of powers by NEC

Unite launch ballot over sacked London bus rep

Christmas redundancy shock at L&Q housing association

Stop 'fire and rehire' at British Gas


New Technology

Can green technology and AI save capitalism?


Engels

'Socialism - Utopian and Scientific' by Engels


Reports & campaigns

Protests in solidarity with Indian farmers

Book: The national question - a Marxist approach

School boy assaulted by police in Tottenham

TUSC relaunch in the north west

Protest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

Tremendous fighting fund reflects confidence


Quiz

Quiz 2020


 

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BT:

triangleBT Openreach engineers step up the pressure with five-day strike action

triangleThousands of BT workers to ballot for strike action

triangleFight BT redundancies

triangleOppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

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triangleCovid inquiry? Workers must decide

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Telecoms:

triangleEE puts workers' health and safety at risk

Redundancies:

triangleEast London cleaners fight outsourcing and redundancies

Compulsory redundancy:

triangleEast Dunbartonshire council workers back further strikes

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