BT, which made profits of #2.5 billion for the final nine months of 1996, faces industrial action by its middle managers and professionals over pay.
The results of a ballot of 12,000 BT executives were released today by their union, the Society of Telecom Executives (STE). On a turnout of 65 per cent, 85 per cent voted for industrial action short of strike action. In the same ballot 52 per cent voted to strike.
The dispute focuses on BT?s annual round of salary reviews due on 1 April. The STE is calling for a minimum increase in line with inflation plus guaranteed progression through BT?s long pay range. BT is offering an increase of 4.3 per cent to the paybill plus set aside a sum for bonuses.
An STE spokesperson said: ?An increase of 4.3 to the paybill does not mean a pay increase of 4.3 per cent across the board. The company will distribute this money at its discretion, on a secret basis.?
STE said BT has rejected its claims for a retail price index increase for all, plus an additional 4.5 per cent to the paybill, for performance rewards.
?At the same time BT has set aside #60 million -- equivalent to a 12 per cent pay increase for all managers and professionals -- for bonuses for some senior MCI managers in the light of the planned merger,? continued the spokesperson.
The members affected manage BT?s network and work with organisations designing and delivering systems.
?The ball is now in BT?s court. We hope it will come back to the bargaining table. If that doesn?t happen we will take industrial action, but we can not be specific about when we will do it,? continued the spokesperson. A meeting between STE and BT officials has yet to be arranged.
A BT spokesperson said the company is willing to discuss with STE further. He said: ?We have a good offer on the table. We are providing real increases to managers who are already well paid.?
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