BT and Openreach strike: when will workers walk out next month, why are they striking - what has union said?

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said the planned action is down to management having “no appreciation of their workers’ value”

BT and Openreach workers are set to stage fresh strikes next month in a long-running dispute over pay.

The action will include the tens of thousands of Openreach engineers and BT call centre workers - who have already walked out in previous months. The strikes are centred around an “incredibly low” flat-rate pay rise of £1,500.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it was a real-terms pay cut because of the soaring rate of inflation. And the CWU added that 999 emergency call handlers will also be on strike next month.

When will the strikes take place?

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its members will walk out for four days next month.

Here are the dates of the planned strikes:

  • Thursday 6 October
  • Monday 10 October
  • Thursday 20 October
  • Monday 24 October

Why are they striking?

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said the strikes are down to management having “no appreciation of their workers’ value.”

He said: “This dispute is modern Britain in a nutshell: lives are at risk because a company’s top brass won’t listen to workers.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but our union’s repeated attempts to initiate discussions was declined by a management who clearly believe they are above negotiating a fair deal for people who make massive profits for them.

“999 operators are using foodbanks, they’re worried about the bills and are being stretched to the limit. It’s no surprise that the goodwill of workers has run dry, and that services will now be hampered.”

He added: “BT management clearly has no appreciation of their workers’ value – but this union does, and we will keep on fighting this company’s attempt to plunge its workers into even further hardship.”

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said BT’s behaviour is “downright disgraceful” and “time and time again” the union has “asked for negotiations”.

Mr Kerr said: “It is downright disgraceful that BT Group’s refusal to treat its members with an ounce of dignity has come to this.

“Time and time again, we have asked for negotiations to resolve what may well be a dangerous dispute for many, only to be ignored by a senior management that could not be less interested in addressing the anger that exists in their workplaces.”

A BT Group spokesperson said in a statement: “We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, whilst we respect the right of colleagues to take industrial action, we are profoundly disappointed that the CWU is prepared to take this reckless course of action by including 999 services in strikes.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect 999 services – redeploying our people to the most important priority is a normal part of BT Group operations.

“We made the best pay award we could in April and we have held discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here. In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected”.