BT strike cancelled over legal dispute

A ballot of BT employees on whether to strike over pay conditions has been scrapped after ‘procedural issues’ came to light.

The Communication Workers Union had begun the process of taking votes from its 55,000 members within BT – around half the IT and telecommunications giant’s UK workforce – but it failed to provide the company with the workplace addresses of balloted members.

Under trade union legislation that means BT, which had stated that it would legally contest any industrial action, could secure a court injunction against the strike. The CWU called off the ballot on legal advice.

"We’re bitterly disappointed that this ballot has had to be cancelled,” said Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary. “It’s devastating for our members and for trade union rights in the UK and of course it doesn’t help to resolve the outstanding issues over pay which we have with BT.”

The strike, prompted by the news that BT CEO Ian Livingstone would receive a £1.2 million bonus, threatened to disrupt Internet service and IT support for many UK businesses.

The CWU argued that the 2% pay rise offered by BT was insufficient, calling instead for a 5% raise for workers.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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