BT is to hand its UK frontline workers a £1,500 pay increase in the telecoms giant’s biggest pay increase for more than 20 years.
The company said the pay rise is being given to 58,000 workers across BT Group, including engineers, contact centre staff and retail staff.
BT said the increase is “focussed on the lowest paid workers” and will work out as a roughly 8% increase for some members of staff.
The highest paid frontline workers will still see a more-than 3% increase as a result of the change.
The telecoms company said the move, which will include staff at its Openreach, Plusnet and EE businesses, comes after lengthy negotiations with the Communications Workers Union (CWU).
However, the CWU said on Twitter that it has rejected the proposal and will ballot members over strike action.
“The CWU has rejected the pay offer from BT,” the union tweeted.
“We have no choice now but to immediately prepare for a statutory industrial action ballot.
“We will be sending further communications to members via email and social media later today.”
Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT, said the firm hopes lower paid workers will “benefit most and as soon as possible” amid the rising cost of living crisis.
He added: “BT Group has continued to support the country as it recovers from the pandemic: keeping families connected, helping businesses to grow in new, online markets, and supporting organisations to stay connected and adopt hybrid working.
“We took the decision not to use redundancy and the Government’s furlough scheme as a direct consequence of the pandemic, and thanks to the contribution of all 100,000 BT people, we’ve continued to improve customer ratings and invest in growing our full-fibre and mobile networks.
“While we have continued to extend and strengthen our networks to support the country’s recovery, the pandemic has hit our financial performance, like that of most companies.
“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to make this pay award – the biggest in 20 years – to thank our colleagues and recognise their hard work.”
Last year, the company also paid frontline workers a £1,000 cash payment as well as £500 worth of shares.
The new increase comes as BT customers were hit by a 9% price hike at the start of the month.
BT said those affected will end up paying an extra £3.50 a month – or £42 annually – on average for phone and broadband bills.
However, financially vulnerable households and those on certain packages, including BT Home Essentials and BT Basic, will be exempt.
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