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Some 75 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members gathered to discuss action on pay in Newcastle this week. They met to discuss British Telecom’s derisory final pay offer of 2% and two non-consolidated and non-pensionable £250 payments, the second of which is dependent on meeting an undisclosed end of year target.

CWU LogoThe CWU’s claim is for 5% on pay and allowances. This comes after workers accepted changes to terms and conditions which have delivered huge cost savings and changes to pensions that have reduced BT’s pension costs.

Members feel this is one insult too far and will no longer accept BT’s claims that the company cannot afford a wage increase. BT’s projected annual profit is £5.7bn and a 5% pay rise would cost BT just 1.1% of this.

There was, for once, solidarity between the rank and file of the union and its leadership. Many have felt that the leadership has for too long backed down in the face of BT’s growing bullying management style. More will need to be done to give confidence to those who have been demoralised by the constant attacks by the company.

However, there was a strong feeling at the meeting that the union must unite to fight for a decent pay rise. More meetings are planned in the coming weeks.

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