BT and Openreach workers in Watford are staging fresh strikes over pay.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said 40,000 of its members at BT Group are showing “serious determination” to get a decent wage rise.

Strikes were held yesterday (August 30) and today and follow action earlier this month.

Workers have been on the picket line outside BT’s site in Orphanage Road holding placards and banners.

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The union said workers are opposing the imposition of an “incredibly low” flat-rate pay rise of £1,500 – which it says “in the context of RPI inflation levels already hitting 11.7% this year is a dramatic real-terms pay cut”.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “These are the same workers who kept the country connected during the pandemic. Without CWU members, there would have been no home-working revolution, and vital technical infrastructure may have malfunctioned or been broken when our country most needed it."

He added: “These people have performed phenomenally under great strain and have been given a real-terms pay cut for a reward.

“The reason for the strike is simple: workers will not accept a massive deterioration in their living standards.

“BT Group workers are saying enough is enough. They have serious determination to win, and are not going to stop until they are listened to.”

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A BT Group spokesperson said: “We know that our colleagues are dealing with the impacts of high inflation and, although we’re disappointed, we respect their decision to strike.

“We have made the best pay award we could and we are in constant discussions with the CWU to find a way forward from here. In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.”

The company said that when it became clear it was not going to reach agreement with the union, it awarded the highest pay rise in more than 20 years.

BT Group said a fully consolidated pay award to team members and frontline employees of £1,500 represents a rise of around 5% on average and 8% for the lowest paid, effective from April 1 this year.

It added it was the highest pay rise it had awarded in 20 years.

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