We wrote on 2 March to advise BT Members that the union had submitted its pay claim for 2010. Negotiations have been taking place with the company over the last few weeks. On 24 March the company tabled an opening offer, which was for a 2% increase in the pay bill, to be distributed via a process that would be the subject of further negotiations. This increase would be consolidated but would not be pensionable.
We have rejected this offer. With inflation currently running at 3.7% (February RPI figure,) an increase to the pay bill as low as this would translate into increases that would not keep pace with inflation, for the majority of our members. Moreover it would do nothing at all to deal with the collapse of differentials (particularly those between Band One and the people they line manage). In fact it would make that situation worse.
That BT's opening offer is non-pensionable is also unacceptable to the union. Whilst no-one would deny that the situation facing the pension scheme is challenging, the fact is that we agreed major changes to the pension scheme just over a year ago. Those changes included moving the scheme to Career Average for future accrual - and this substantially limits BT's exposure to the impact of pensionable pay increases.
Further talks are due to take place over the next few weeks. We will of course report further.