O2 pay negotiations have hit the buffers once again with
union representatives accusing the operator of 'pushing for a
dispute' by 'backtracking' on a pay deal for its technical, engineering and
Talks broke down this week after the operator refused to advance
its offer on a 2% pay rise with no pay progression.
The Communication Workers Union's (CWU's) hopes had been raised at a
previous meeting earlier in the month when O2 had indicated a
willingness to discuss pay progression.
CWU national officer Ian Cuthbert said: 'I am extremely angry that
O2 has retreated into its shell. We were led to believe at the
last meeting that the company welcomed the significant moves by
the CWU to put forward a compromise offer. We jointly discussed
how pay progression could work and the union hailed this as a
welcome and mature response from the company.
'The CWU negotiating team was therefore totally dismayed today
when the company backtracked. It is hard not to think of this as
an act of bad faith.
The CWU said O2 have claimed the cost of the deal is £2.7m.
In a statement the union said: 'Considering the company spent in
excess of £28 million on restructuring costs - widely thought of as
redundancy payments - last year, the claim is affordable.'
Cuthbert added: 'It could be interpreted as if O2 would rather
spend ten times the amount to induce people to go, as rewarding
The CWU warned: 'CWU activists within O2 are meeting to discuss
this latest turn of events. The mood is likely to be one of
extreme anger that the company seem to be pushing for a dispute.'
A CWU spokeswoman told Mobile: 'There is no next meeting planned.
We are at a cross roads. Clearly it is not going well.'
She added: 'We have not taken a decision yet on whether to ballot
to take industrial action but it is on the cards.'
An O2 spokeswoman said: 'We
remain disappointed and surprised that the CWU has rejected the 2% offer. We’re
committed to recognising performance, and our pay and benefits package is one of
the best in the market. Our pay offer is twice the current national average for
the private sector, reflecting this commitment, and we’ll continue to try and
reach a satisfactory agreement with the CWU.'