Union to Telefonica/VM02: ‘If you’re busting inflation with your prices, you can match inflation on wages’

Telecoms & Financial Services, Telefonica UK


CWU national officer Tracey Fussey slams ‘hypocrisy’ of telecoms giant for increasing customer bills by a staggering 11.7 per cent, while offering a paltry 3 per cent pay rise to its VM02 workers…

“We’re scheduling a branch forum and full members’ meetings as soon as practicable and we’re also taking this matter to our industrial executive,” Tracey told CWU News this afternoon, as news broke that Telefonica bosses plan to impose a sub-inflation pay increase. 

“This looks like it’s going to an all-member ballot,” she warned, adding: “With retail price inflation at 7.7 per cent and even the consumer index at 5.5, there’s no way a rise of 3 per cent is anything other than a real-terms pay cut.

“And it gets worse – the deal they plan to impose is a two-year settlement with only a 2 per cent increase in 2023. So that will be a full two years of pay falling ever-further behind the cost of living. Everything at the moment indicates that inflation is going to continue rising throughout 2022 and who knows where we will be this time next year?”

As well as the rising levels of inflation, driven by huge increases in utility bills, fuel and food prices, every UK household is also facing a 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance contributions, making it more important than ever that workers receive fair pay rises that at least match these rising costs.

Bosses at Telefonica/VMO2 have not hesitated in raising their own customer prices – lifting tariffs to customers by a staggering 11.7 per cent. And they have continued to pay out full dividends to their shareholders on the basis of healthy profits reported in their latest financial figures.

“There’s no doubt that this is a healthy and wealthy company and there’s no doubt that they can afford a fair pay deal,” insists Tracey.

“So, our message to Telefonica/VM02 is this – if you can bust inflation with your prices, there’s no reason why you can’t at least match inflation with your wages.”

  • The CWU’s recognised bargaining unit in VMO2 covers the ex-Telefonica contact centre operations at Preston Brook and Leeds ABC, a number of smaller sites and the O2 stores. The current pay negotiations  do not, however,  apply to the shop staff who have recently received a 10 per cent rise stemming from a CWU-brokered deal which included the consolidation of bonus payments into base pay.
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