BT workers in Powys have gone on strike again today, bringing marking the third spell of industrial action this year.

Members of the Communication Workers Union – the union for BT Group workers – walked out today (October 6), with further strikes planned for Monday, October 10, Thursday, October 20, and Monday, October 24.

Members in Newtown with neighbouring branches in Welshpool, Llanidloes and Llandrindod Wells have all walked out, as have others in Shrewsbury and Oswestry.

Simon Edwards, branch secretary of the CWU Mid Wales, the Marches and North Staffs Branch, said members are not losing their resolve.

“I think people have stuck with the dispute at the moment, as these things rumble on sometimes you get diminishing returns but people are quite angry with the hypocrisy of the chief executive gaining a 32 percent wage rise of £3.5 million, massive payments on share dividends,” said Mr Edwards. “You’ve got that versus the imposition of a big real terms pay cut.

“Morale in the company is not very good at the moment. A lot more people have left through natural attrition than ever before.

“The old adage of a job for life, it was seen as a job for life – BT’s terms and conditions were some of the best in industry. Now with pay being driven down more obviously as well through the back door through regrading or bringing in new hires on worse pay rate.


“You’ve got huge centralisation programmes going on. Whittington has been involved in this, where work in the shires has been going into big cities like Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. The local rural workforce, economy and career opportunities are being destroyed.”

Nationwide, these strikes include 30,000 Openreach engineers and 10,000 BT call centre workers who have taken action in previous months in opposition to BT Group management’s imposition of an incredibly low flat-rate pay rise of just £1,500- much lower than this year’s RPI inflation levels of 11.7 per cent - representing a dramatic real-terms pay cut.

This came after BT made £1.3 billion in annual profit, with CEO Philip Jansen gaining a £3.5 million pay package – a 32% wage increase.

This dispute is expected to cause disruption to emergency services, as 999 emergency call handlers walk out for the first time with colleagues in BT Group.

The workers in Co Armagh have joined hundreds of BT/Openreach colleagues at picket lines in protest against a pay offer from management slammed as an effective “pay cut”.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “This dispute is modern Britain in a nutshell: lives are at risk because a company’s top brass won’t listen to workers."

A BT Group spokesperson said they would do what they can to keep emergency services going: “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."