Downpatrick Members Of the CWU strike for better pay and conditions
The Communications Workers Union is holding a two-day strike across the UK and Northern Ireland today Friday 29th July and Monday 1st August.
Trade unions across the country are increasingly concerned at the severe erosion of workers pay as inflation rises and pay negotiations stagnate in the teeth of a worsening economic outlook as energy and cost-of-living prices go through the roof.
The 188,820 strong CWU which has support from a number of Labour MPs group in Parliament, is totally against the Conservative government’s aim to bust trade unions. Liz Truss, Tory PM hopeful in the leadership battle, has pledged to wage war on the unions if she wins, flagging up an image of a 21st century Maggie Thatcher who broke the miner and steelworkers. This crisis could lead to a very serious winter of discontent with widespread trade union activity and strikes paralysing the country… and even forcing a general election.
In Downpatrick at the BT Exchange, picketers and supporters gathered to protest against the real cuts to their wages and conditions of employment which has a corrosive effect on the whole of society.
CWU picket co-ordinator Richard McCormick, said: “We are demanding fair pay and proper employment rights. Whilst inflation is eating into our wages, the BT Chief Executive has received a 32% pay increase to bring him up to £3.5 million a year.
“Our rights are being eroded constantly in areas of redundancy, sick pay, contracts, etc and just across the board.”
Richard McCormick explained that the strike will last for two days, but it could extend much longer if BT do not start to meet the workers call for improved wages and conditions.
One disgruntled picket supporter said: “It’s amazing that BT, a private company, saw 58% of its profits go to shareholders, and incredibly, many of these shareholders are not even in the UK.
Responding to BT Group’s quarterly results, and speaking ahead of the strike, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “BT Group are now gaslighting our members.
“Announcing hundreds of millions of pounds in profit on the eve of the first national strike since 1987 smacks of arrogance and complete contempt for frontline workers.
“BT workers have hundreds of picket lines arranged across the UK tomorrow, and will support the CWU in delivering mass strike action.
“This dispute sits squarely at the feet of Philip Jansen. He represents everything that needs to change about big business in Britain.
“Our members kept the country connected during the pandemic. They deserve a proper pay rise, and that’s what they’re going to get.”
Note: What is gaslighting ? It is when a person tries to make another person or group belief they are wrong in their position when they are not. It often is seen as repeated disagreements, a rejection of sensible arguments, and simply not listening to the other person’s position. (In management tactics, it may be seen a a pre-negotiation strategy.)