6/14/2010 4:06:00 PM
O2 on 'slippery slope' to industrial dispute
O2 is on the ‘slippery slope’ to a damaging dispute unless it improves on its 2% pay offer, the Communication Workers Union warned today.
The union is predicting that O2 workers will reject the company’s offer in a consultative ballot which closes on 29 June. It claims O2 staff are angry at the offer, particularly in light of a recent 4.3% pay settlement at Manx Telecom, which is also owned by Telefonica.
Assistant secretary Ian Cuthbert said: ‘O2 keep on saying to us that they believe that employees will accept the offer, however unacceptable the CWU thinks it is.
‘We're confident that's not the case. We believe our members are genuinely angry and disappointed that the better relations achieved with O2 following last year's pay round has been needlessly squandered.
He added: ‘If a tiny company like Manx Telecom can rewards its employees with that kind of offer, then so can O2. My message to O2 is very clear at this critical moment: listen to your staff or there's trouble ahead.’
The union warned that, should O2 fail to adequately respond, ‘it will be placing itself on a slippery slope to a completely unnecessary and potentially damaging dispute.’
Cuthbert said: ‘The CWU negotiating team unanimously believes that offer is shabby - equating to less than half the benchmark inflation rate which was 4.4 per cent in March, with RPI even higher now.
'We simply don't believe that employees should have to take a pay cut if the company they are working for is highly successful.’
In a statement O2 said it welcomed the consultative ballot and was disappointed the CWU was not supporting its 2% offer.
It defended its offer, calling it 'one of the best on the market' adding: 'It is also in line with the offer accepted by the CWU with the Royal Mail and Virgin Media. We have consistently made pay increases and performance-related bonuses to all our staff throughout the recession, in stark contrast to most other companies in our sector and across UK industry.’