Now that the ballot is done, should I take industrial action?

Yes, it is vitally important that all members take action.  The ballot results were an opening message to BT & Openreach but they have chosen to not to come back in to talks. We must now follow up the ballot results with real action, send a louder message that just imposing £1,500 is far from good enough. It is the workforce that create the profits that the BT Board and Shareholders have enjoyed and not shared. If we stand together we will win.


Can the company stop me from taking industrial action?

No they cannot. BT & Openreach may try to isolate or intimidate groups of workers or individuals to encourage them not to take strike action.  Intimidation or discouragement may come in many forms, such as managers requesting one to one meetings to ask you whether you’ll be striking or making suggestions about things that may happen if you go on strike.  Making empty threats is intended to try to stop you taking strike action. You should report any incidences of threats (overt or otherwise) by managers to your local branch who will deal with this on your behalf. The best way to win is standing together and taking collective action.


Do I have to notify my employer in advance that I intend taking strike Action?

No – if you are asked you should reply: "My union has advised me that I am not required to let you know my intentions prior to the start of any industrial action."


What is the aim of the industrial action?

Firstly, in terms of pay, the aim is a deal that addresses the real financial needs of CWU members.  This means a pay rise that mitigates the current cost of living.   £1500 comes nowhere near the current inflation figures for anyone, it is simply not enough.   Placing a figure on this is difficult due to the broad range of salaries in BT & Openreach.   

Secondly, in terms of imposition, BT & Openreach cannot be allowed to get away with doing whatever they want to CWU members (pay or otherwise). Union members need to make certain that these employers do not continue to impose their will without them having any say first. This action is as much about the future as it is about the present.


Will members get a say on any future pay offers?

A key part of this industrial action is to object to BT & Openreach imposing £1,500 on CWU members.  By imposing this figure without agreement with union members, BT decimated years of good industrial relations.  CWU Members must have a say on any negotiated pay rise.


If I go on strike am I protected from dismissal?

Yes, you cannot be dismissed for taking lawful industrial action. An employee who takes official industrial action is protected from dismissal under the Employment Rights Act.


Can I be disciplined for taking part in industrial action?

Legally you should not be disciplined for exercising your lawful right to take industrial action.  There are rules that you must follow about behaviour of pickets and support protests. Picket Guidelines will be provided to branches.


I’m not a CWU member – can I support the strike (and have the same protections as a paid up member?).

YES, BT & Openreach workers (who are not CWU members) in grades covered by this dispute, can participate in official industrial (strike) action.  BT cannot discriminate between members and non-members taking lawful industrial action.  It would be better if everyone taking action signed up was a member of the union as CWU Members have the right to full representation in the event of any issues that may arise.


I am a BT/Openreach employee who works on EE sites. What do I do if I’m asked to take action by the CWU?

BT & Openreach members can take part in any official strike action wherever they are working.


What if I’m a trainee or have less than two years’ service?

As a trainee or someone with less service you have the same rights as every other employee with regards to strike action, and are covered under the same legislation. Any strike days, will however postpone the attainment of any necessary qualifying period (for example taking two strike days may delay the qualifying period by two days.)  


Will I lose pay?

BT & Openreach will lawfully be able to deduct pay from your wages for the days you are on strike.  The Union have a hardship fund, to help anyone who is facing particular financial hardship as a result of strike action.  


Are my pension contributions affected?

Pension contributions may not be made for the period of lost pay.   Nevertheless, the effect on your pension will be very small and it is hoped that the industrial action will protect and enhance your overall pay and therefore your overall pension for the future.


What’s the CWU position on emergency services [999] workers – will they be asked to come out on strike?

The CWU has no intention of putting lives at risk and will be discussing 999 operator cover with BT. 


I am due to be on annual leave on one or more of the strike days. Can I still take these or will it be assumed I am striking?

If you have pre-booked Annual Leave, unless you cancel it, then the day will be counted as Annual Leave.


Can I take industrial action if I am on sickness absence? 

Industrial action consisting of a strike is a call to stop working.  If a member is on sick leave, they are not working and are not being called to take industrial action.


If I am on maternity/paternity/adoption leave can I take industrial action?

Industrial action consisting of a strike is a call to stop working.  If a member is on maternity/paternity/ adoptive leave, they are not working and are not being called to take industrial action.


I am part-time, will I only lose pay for the hours I should have worked? 

The amount that should be deducted is the amount payable for the hours that were due to be worked on the day of the strike.  


Can I take action short of a strike?

No, Union members & representatives should not engage in any action short of a strike, this could be deemed unlawful as the ballot was for strike action only.