BT, CWU reach pay raise agreement and avoid strike

BT (NYSE: BT) and the Commercial Workers Union (CWU) have ironed out a three percent annual pay increase deal that will run for 39 months, avoiding the service provider's first strike since 1987.

This agreement ends a tense debate between BT and the CWU. The union wanted a five percent pay raise for 2010 and argued that BT rewarded high level executives with generous bonuses while cutting jobs of lower level managers and workers.

Initially, BT offered the CWU--a group that represents 50,000 BT workers--a two percent raise. However, the union rejected the offer and decided to hold a ballot to strike. On Monday, the CWU decided to withdraw its ballot to strike because it feared that BT would take legal action against the union.

Ian Livingston, CEO of BT, heralded the agreement in typical PR fashion. "BT will benefit from a long period of certainty whilst our employees will have financial stability during uncertain economic times," he said. "Industrial action would have been in no-one's interest."

For more:
- Reuters has this article

Related articles:
BT, unions come back to the negotiation table
BT could have a strike on its hands
BT workers reject new pay raise offer
BT hopes to ward off strike with new pay raise offer
BT could be laying off even more workers

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