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BT pay cuts: we need less surveys, more action!
Clive Walder, CWU Birmingham, Black Country and Worcester branch
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) telecoms section is once again shying away from a fight with BT and recommending cuts in pay and conditions for new staff.
The 2013 CWU telecoms conference called for an industrial action ballot if there had been no meaningful improvement in performance management by July.
In response, the union conducted a survey asking members three questions: if they had noticed any improvement; if they thought the new agreement (supposed to cure all ills) needed more time to bed in; and if they wished to be balloted for strike action.
Four out of five workers said there had been no improvement and 57% wanted a strike action ballot. But the union will conduct another survey, this time in conjunction with managers' union Prospect.
Their reasoning was that the 28% response rate didn't give them a mandate. The CWU telecoms executive now appears to accept David Cameron's view on ballots!
Also the union has called a special conference on 20-21 August in Birmingham to discuss BT's proposals to employ new recruits on worse pay and conditions.
BT has employed people on inferior terms and conditions in new call centres for a while but this enshrines second class status for new recruits.
We've seen £2.3 billion profits, huge investment in BT Sport and £300 million a year being spent buying back the company's own shares to increase dividends.
But they aim to pay new call centre workers £6,000 less a year and new engineers about £4,000 less than their longer serving counterparts.
The current CWU Telecoms leadership is proof of the disaster that is 'partnership' between employer and union and can now do little more than 'sell' BT policy to their members.
Socialists and Broad Left members in the CWU will be vigorously condemning these proposals and campaigning for a fighting union leadership and for taking the entire telecoms industry into public ownership.
See further articles on www.socialistparty.org.uk
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