BT, unions come back to the negotiation table

BT (NYSE: BT) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU), which have been engaged in an ongoing fight over pay increases, have decided again to sit down and resolve their issues. 

The CWU decided to resume talks with BT after legal technicalities forced the CWA had to cancel its strike ballot. "The ballot has been cancelled following legal advice which clearly outlined that under the notoriously restrictive trade union laws in the U.K. certain technical breaches would potentially invalidate the ballot," the CWA said in a statement.

After rejecting BT's revised raise offer, CWU, which represents over 50,000 of BT's workforce that hold customer service and engineering roles, was supposed to announce strike ballot results yesterday. As it braces itself for its first strike since 1987, BT asked managers to be prepared to resolve phone outages and deal with customer calls.

What drove CWU's members to strike was their ongoing battle with BT's CEO Ian Livingston, who has cut jobs in response to the combination of slow sales and the current economic crisis. Making matters worse, Livingston and his top executives were handed generous bonus and pay. Livingston was awarded a $1.81 million bonus, while Tony Chanmugam, finance director, and Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail were awarded $1.6 million in pay and bonuses in 2009.

For more:
- Bloomberg's article charts this new development

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