Workers 'need foodbanks' while boss pockets £3.5m

BT Group workers in the city are on strike for fairer pay.

BT Group workers in the city are on strike for fairer pay. - Credit: Francis Redwood

City workers for a major communications company have joined others across the country who are striking for fairer pay.

The strikes began hours after the release of telecommunications behemoth BT Group's latest quarterly results.

It announced £400m profit in the first quarter on top of the £1.3bn achieved in the last financial year.

Stephen Kirk, a private services engineer for Openreach, 51 who lives in Mulbarton.

Stephen Kirk, a private services engineer for Openreach, 51 who lives in Mulbarton. - Credit: Francis Redwood

Stephen Kirk, a private services engineer for Openreach from Mulbarton, said: "We're on strike to request a fair pay deal which BT are refusing to give.

"Chief executive officer Philip Jansen, awarded himself a 32pc pay rise giving him a £3.5million salary.

"Yet staff are needing foodbanks because they can't afford to live.

"I hope the strikes force the company to sit up and listen."

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The Communication Workers Union (CWU) had been in talks with BT about worker's pay at the start of the year.

However talks stalled which resulted in the strikes that started on July 29 with a picket line in St Andrews Street.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) striking in St Andrews Street.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) striking in St Andrews Street. - Credit: Francis Redwood

A spokesman for BT Group said: "We were in exhaustive discussions with the CWU that lasted for two months, trying hard to reach an agreement on pay.

"When it became clear that we weren't going to reach an accord we took the decision to go ahead with giving our team members and frontline colleagues the highest pay award in more than 20 years on April 1.

"We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be re-opening the 2022 pay review having already made the best award we could.

"We’re balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders and that includes making once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, vital for the UK economy and for BT Group’s future – including our people.

"While we respect the choice of our colleagues who are CWU members to strike we will work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected."

John Woods, a customer service engineer for Openreach, 51 who lives in the Golden Triangle.

John Woods, a customer service engineer for Openreach, 51 who lives in the Golden Triangle. - Credit: Francis Redwood

John Woods, a customer service engineer for Openreach who lives in NR2, added: "The imposed pay rise was never agreed with the union.

"We're just looking for a fair pay rise especially in the current climate.

"We hope from the strikes that it gets the CEO back around the table and talking."