National day of action for BT workers “won’t be the last”

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Friday 2nd October 2020

Yesterday’s national day of action for BT workers “won’t be the last”, the CWU have warned.

Speaking at a video rally after the #CountMeIn wave of solidarity for BT workers from across the union, CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr told the company to change their attitude.   As it’s not true that the union and its campaign is “not representative” of how their workers feel.

“Today shows we are united. Today is a message of solidarity from the CWU to BT, from every part of our organisation, in every part of the UK.  BT need to listen to our message!

“Only if we stay united and stick together and stand together can we force BT to another direction. This is the first national day of action – and it won’t be the last. We’ll be ramping up further pressure on BT as the weeks and months go by. ”

Videos were shown from Chris Power (South East Central Branch), Pauline O’Rourke (Edinburgh, Dundee & Borders), Anton Begley (Glasgow & Motherwell), Erin Massey (Northern Ireland Telecoms), Neil Crothal (Great Western), Stephen Eley (Portsmouth, Isle of Wight & Sussex),  Sarah Miah (North Anglia), Steve Donald (Greater Mersey),  Hardeep Sagoo (Midland Counties), Joe Shaftoe (Tyne & Wear Clerical), Pete Sharrocks (North East), Eugene Caparros (South Wales), Ian Lawrie (Scotland No. 1) and Jonathan Bellshaw (Lincolnshire & South Yorkshire). Branches advertised events happening in their region for the national day of action – with a variety of ideas, to increase engagement with our members and raise the profile of the campaign with the ultimate aim to put pressure on BT. 

Speaking on the call, CWU general secretary Dave Ward referenced the “successful” industrial campaign in Royal Mail, telling workers that “we can achieve the same in BT with #CountMeIn.

“We’re going to throw in every bit of support from CWU to secure a good agreement that will preserve your security. Get behind this campaign, behind your reps and officials.”CWU president Karen Rose also expressed how “glad” she was to see branches and regions embrace the campaign and put up a “really good show.

“Our members have been key workers and are absolutely vital.

“BT need to treat our members with respect – and that’s not happening at the moment.

“Today is all about getting behind those people under risk of compulsory redundancy, and we need to be making sure we show full solidarity to all of them.

“Some people are badly impacted by what BT is doing –so right now we need to show  solidarity and support for those members. 

“It’s all about saying to BT, we don’t accept what you’re doing and we’ll turn it around.”

T&FS executive member Pete Francis said that all London branches were engaged with Count Me In, and nine London yards, depots and store hubs were the sites of protest yesterday.

London members were also given a special e-postcard addressed to BT boss Philip Jansen, where they could fill in their own thoughts about the company’s proposed plans – and demand a response.

Members were asked to send them to Jansen’s e-mail address en masse at noon – the aim being to inundate his inbox. Pete was “hopeful” that at least a couple of thousand of these e-postcards were sent!

All in all the day was a huge success, particularly light of the limited activity branches were able to perform due to the pandemic.  Finally Andy Kerr stated: “I’d like to thank our branches and all the representatives out there who played their part yesterday.  We are a great force when we all come together.  I would encourage any new members wanting to get involved to contact their branch”.