Newtown workers joined the national BT and Openreach strike today (Tuesday, August 30).

Local BT and Openreach workers came out to form a picket at 7am, with the local workers forming the picket line outside the BT exchange on Pool Road.

The picket lasted all morning, continuing until around midday.

This was part of a UK-wide walkout of BT and Openreach staff planned for Tuesday and Wednesday and followed similar strike action at the start of the month.

Locally, picket lines were also organised in Machynlleth, Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Aberystwyth.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which called the strike, said that overall, more than 40,000 have walked out in protest of pay and conditions.


Earlier this year, BT offered and implemented a £1,500 per year pay increase for employees.

However, the CWU argues that in the context of RPI inflation levels already hitting 11.7% this year, this is a dramatic real-terms pay cut.

Tensions were made worse by news of BT making £1.3 billion in annual profit, with CEO Philip Jansen gaining a £3.5 million pay package – a 32% wage increase – while the Big Issue and the BBC have reported instances of BT Group offices establishing food banks to assist employees.

This action occurring against a backdrop of strike action in various other sectors, as postal workers, rail workers, barristers and others walk out to demand better pay and better treatment in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and as some unions consider planning coordinated strike action this autumn.

At the picket line, Alan Evans, 64, from Newtown, a telephone engineer for over 40 years, said: “It’s not just about pay and conditions. It’s about fair play.

“When you’ve got your CEO awarding them self a 32% pay rise on top of their already massive wage? When the boss jets off to their multi-million pound holiday home while you work through the pandemic?

“Something needs to change.”

A spokesperson for BT said: “We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, although we're disappointed, we respect their decision to strike.

“We have made the best pay award we could and we are in constant discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here.”