BT Workers to Vote on Strike

Ian LivingstonAfter revealing a bumper £1.2 million bonus for its chief executive Ian Livingston this year, BT faces the threat of strike action.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is expected to announce details of plans to ballot its 55,000 members at BT on strike action over a proposed 2 per cent pay rise for staff.

The annual report shows that Mr. Livingston hit 142 of 200 targets set by the company, giving him £1.2 million of a £1.7 million maximum bonus on top of his £860,000 salary.

Mr. Livingston, who joined as chief executive in June 2008, was given a £50,000 pay rise last year, which would have taken his salary to £900,000, but he did not accept it as BT had frozen staff pay. The bonus figure is nevertheless expected to further anger the union, which has argued for a 5 per cent basic pay rise for staff.

Andy Kerr, the CWU's deputy general secretary, said: "This is blatant double standards. Staff at BT has borne the brunt of the cost savings through redundancies, changes to pensions and a pay freeze. All we're asking for staff is a fair share of the profits as a pay rise. If it's good enough for the managers it should be good enough for the staff".

BT is understood to be preparing senior managers for a strike, asking them to list their skills in case of disruption.

The group lately announced £1 billion in profits for the year to the end of March, a huge rise on the £134 million loss it posted the previous year.

The group, which employs around 100,000 people, has cut about 35,000 jobs in the past two years.