BT strike warning grows | Potential internet blackout for up to 10m homeworkers

Potential internet blackout for up to 10m homeworkers

Telecommunications giant and internet provider BT is currently in the midst of an internal row over planned job cuts and site closures.

The Communication Workers Union, which is currently representing around 45,000 BT staff, warned that if a national strike were to take place, it could well leave over 10million home workers - figures from - with no access to the internet, according to reports from The Guardian.

With millions of workers within the UK still largely operating remotely, strike action from BT Group staff, along with EE and the BT-Owned Openreach could leave millions without access to the internet or phone lines.

“This is a decision we did not want to take. Last year our members delivered a huge yes vote in a consultative ballot but BT Group is still in denial,” Andy Kerr, Union Deputy General Secretary at the Communication Workers Union.

“We want to assure businesses and the public that we do not want to see disruptions to services. This action is about protecting our members but also it is about protecting the service they provide to homes and businesses.

“My message to BT Group is that our door is still open, and we want to resolve this dispute, but this will require a huge shift in attitude from the company. My message to our members is to continue supporting their union and prepare to deliver a massive yes vote,” he concluded.

According to reports from the Communication Workers Union, the company intends to close hundreds of sites across the UK within the coming years and downsize its physical locations to just 30 key sites.

A BT spokesperson told The Guardian that it was a “period of immense change” that would indeed result in a downsizing of staff. “Such change is always difficult – that’s why we have been discussing our plans with the unions and will continue to do so," the spokesperson said.

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“We’re disappointed that CWU is contemplating industrial action, though the union has not started the formal industrial action process. We remain committed to discussing the concerns they have raised."

However, the union’s General Secretary Dave Ward noted that workers across the group had been considered key workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and that they had ‘kept the country connected, held together the home working revolution and enabled the wheels of the economy to keep moving’.

“Their reward from BT Group has been the threat of compulsory redundancy or the closure of their workplace,” Ward concluded.

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