Business

Nearly 60,000 ‘frontline’ BT workers to receive £1,500 bonus for pandemic efforts

BT is giving all 59,000 of its frontline workers a £1,500 special bonus to recognise their efforts during the pandemic.

Key workers including engineers and customer service staff, who have been instrumental in keeping Britain connected while the majority worked and studied at home, will receive £1,000 cash in June and £500 in shares under its employee share scheme after three years.

The bonus, which comes despite a pay freeze across the company, is costing the company around £110m and is equivalent to around 5 per cent of the average employee salary, the group has said. 

This bonus is the second of the pandemic. In June last year, BT awarded its 100,000-strong workforce shares worth £500. 

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: “Our frontline colleagues and key workers have been true heroes, keeping everyone connected in this most difficult time.

“BT has delivered for our customers through the dedication of all our people but inevitably the pandemic hit our financial performance, like that of most companies.

“In this context, we have to prioritise and I am determined that we will do everything in our power to reward our frontline colleagues.”

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The bonus comes during a dispute with unions over BT’s overhaul plans.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are voting over industrial action in a row over jobs, which threatens the first national strike at BT since 1987.

The dispute, over compulsory redundancies and the closure of sites, has been running for more than a year.

According to the union, the company wants to close hundreds of sites over the next few years and concentrate the majority of its operations at 30 locations.

A mass walkout could take place in late spring while many people are still working from home.

The CWU vowed to “re-double” its efforts to secure an agreement on job security in spite of the bonus.

A spokesman said: “We believe our members deserve this for all their hard work over the past year but this is not a resolution to the 2021 pay negotiations – as acknowledged by Philip Jansen himself. The unconsolidated payment is yet another example of the short-term approach the company has adopted in its race-to-the-bottom tactics on terms and conditions.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

Source:

www.independent.co.uk

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