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24 Mar 2021 | 10:27

BT to pay pandemic bonus to 59,000 frontline workers

(Sharecast News) - BT Group is to pay its frontline workers a one-off pandemic bonus of £1,500, the telecoms group said on Wednesday. The payment will compromise of £1,000 in cash, payable immediately, and £500 of shares paid after three years under a previously announced employee share scheme. BT said the payout was the equivalent of around 5% of an average frontline salary.

Around 59,000 workers are expected to be eligible for the scheme, which is set to cost the blue chip around £110m. BT left its full-year financial outlook remained unchanged, however.

The move comes as BT continues increasingly fraught negotiations with unions over proposed changes to terms and conditions. The Communication Workers Union is planning to ballot members on potential strike action, threatening the first national strike at the company for more than 30 years. It fears BT's wide-reaching modernisation plans will lead to thousands of job cuts.

A pay freeze has also been introduced company-wide.

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: "BT has delivered for our customers through the dedication of all our people, but inevitably the pandemic hit our financial performance.

"In this context, we have to prioritise, and I am determined that we will do everything in our power to reward our frontline colleagues."

In a statement, CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: "We believe our members deserve this for all their hard work over the past year, but this is not a resolution to the 2021 pay negotiations.

"We know our members will not be bought off and unlike BT, we will not put a price on their job. They are trying to divide the workforce, and ignoring the voice of members, so they can plough on with their job cuts."
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