BT workers vote to strike - and those in Suffolk are set to be affected

BT Adastral Park, Ipswich

It is unclear yet what the effect of strike action will be on Adastral Park at Martlesham - Credit: Archant

BT workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at BT and Openreach overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a vote today, June 30.

The communications giant directly employs 8,560 staff in the East of England, with around 3,000 of them being based at the Adastral Park research and development hub at Martlesham.

However, it is not clear how many of these are CWU members or what the impact of strike action will be for Adastral Park.

Union chiefs said they had been expecting a "resounding result" from the ballot.

Paul Moffat, eastern regional secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), said BT had not taken industrial action since the mid-1980s and workers deserved a "proper pay rise" to help workers "put food on the table" during the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: "We don't take striking lightly, or the imposition of any disagreement, but if that's what it takes us what we'll have to do."

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When asked what this meant for workers at the Adastral Park site, a spokesperson for the BT group said: "BT Group awarded its highest pay rise for frontline colleagues in more than 20 years – an average 5% increase and up to 8% for those on the lowest salaries.

"At the same time, we’re in the middle of a once-in-a-generation investment programme to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks. 

“These investments are vital for the benefit of our millions of customers and for the UK economy. Above all, they are central to the success of this business – and its colleagues – now and in the future. 

“Our job is to balance the competing demands of BT Group’s stakeholders and that requires careful management, especially in a challenging economic environment.

"The result of the CWU’s ballot is a disappointment but we will work to keep our customers and the country connected.”  

Openreach members voted by 95% in favour of strikes on a 74% turnout and BT workers by 91% on a 58% turnout.

EE workers in the CWU voted by 95% in favour – but on a turnout of 49.7%, which the union said was eight votes short of the legal threshold for those taking part in ballots.