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TODAY is CWU Count Me In Action Day, when our reps, activists and members from all over the UK will be standing up and telling BT “No to compulsory redundancies! No to downgrading of terms and conditions.”
Were it not for the awful circumstances of 2020, we would be marching, protesting and rallying in our thousands — but in the “new normal” of this period, the physical, face-to-face part of our campaign is limited.
However, there are still small teams of activists visiting BT yards, exchanges and equipment stores speaking to members on the front line and mobilising for the struggle — a struggle that affects every one of our 45,000 BT members.
But the main focus today is on asking as many people as possible — our activists and members, our branches, our CWU colleagues from Royal Mail, members of other unions, members of the public — to send BT the loudest message across all social platforms.
Send and share a photo of yourself with our Count Me In message or change your profile to the Count Me In logo.
So, what’s the big issue here?
Compulsory redundancies and a downgrading of future terms and conditions, which includes outsourcing of our members’ jobs abroad to get the same work for less.
Yes, that’s right — BT, British Telecom, wants to get rid of workers here and replace them with cheap labour in India.
It wants to destroy decent jobs with union-negotiated pay, terms and conditions and export the work to a developing country where workers lack even the most basic rights, while Openreach secures billions of taxpayers’ money to deliver the fibre infrastructure.
That’s how BT repays our members who have risked their lives working through the pandemic as key workers.
Our union has never accepted compulsory redundancies.
Yes, we’ve dealt with staff reductions — on a voluntary basis, by negotiation, with the use of redeployment and in accordance with longstanding and mutually agreed terms of severance.
But today’s BT management want to tear all that up.
Instead they are looking to unilaterally apply compulsory redundancy without finding redeployment opportunities, or bringing back offshored work, or allowing those who want to, to leave on voluntary terms.
And, to add insult to injury, they’ve served notice that they intend to significantly reduce redundancy payments in the future.
Please support our day of action. Please write to your MP, ask her or him to put pressure on BT to stop compulsory redundancies, stop outsourcing jobs and stop the race to the bottom on terms and conditions.
Let’s all say: “Count Me In.”
Andy Kerr deputy general secretary (telecoms & financial services).
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