Protest planned by BT staff

BT BOFFINS are today preparing to vent their anger at an "insulting" pay review by taking to the streets in protest.Organised by Connect - the union for professionals in communications - the demonstration at BT's Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath is the first of a series of protests aimed at securing more money for thousands of union members.

BT BOFFINS are today preparing to vent their anger at an "insulting" pay review by taking to the streets in protest.

Organised by Connect - the union for professionals in communications - the demonstration at BT's Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath is the first of a series of protests aimed at securing more money for thousands of union members.

The protest will be held tomorrow to coincide with the company's AGM in Cardiff where significantly increaased profits for shareholders are expected to be announced.

Connect's Adastral Park branch secretary Paul Huff said the campaign was not planned to disrupt work at the site and direct industrial action has been ruled out.


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He said: "There are 1,100 members at the site and this is a members demonstration planned to show they are unhappy about the way BT are treating them regarding pay.

"There has been little difference to the take home pay packet for the last five years."

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Connect represents 27,000 managerial and professional employees in BT and a series of demonstrations are planned both at BT sites across the UK.

A union spokesman said the protest would be held outside the main entrance to the site and BT staff will be asked to join the campaign in the restaurant at lunchtime.

He said: "BT offered a derisory 1.7 per cent increase to the pay bill. BT imposed this in June despite a 97.5 per cent rejection in a ballot with a 64 per cent turnout.

"Connect members are outraged that BT has simply ignored the decisive rejection of its 2004 pay offer."

"Delegates to a recent Connect conference unanimously condemned the decision to impose this insulting pay review but were very clear that this is not the end of the story on our pay.

"BT will tomorrow be emphasising a strong performance during the last year.

"Their achievements have largely been made possible by the hard work and dedication of BT's managerial and professional employees."

The Connect spokesman warned that future technological advances could be compromised if the dispute is not resolved.

He added: "Unless progress is made BT will be left with a de-motivated managerial and professional workforce and will struggle to achieve its stated goals over the coming months and years."

A spokesman for BT said no further discussions with Connect are planned at the moment.

He said: "The current climate of the communication industry means that pay awards are generally restrained. We do compare favourably to others in the industry.

"The pay review is based on a 1.7 per cent budget and rewards higher achievers on a lower salary range."

With 3,500 employees Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath is at the cutting edge of the communications industry as a technological research and development centre.

A spokesman said the site had a highly professional and expert workforce.

He added: "It is said there are more PHD's there than anywhere else in the United Kingdom."

n What do you think? Do you work for BT? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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