In what is the first national telecoms strike in nearly 35 years, 40,000 BT and Openreach workers have walked-out.
After members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) refused a £1,500 pay rise, thousands of BT and Openreach workers are to walk off the job today across the UK for the fist time since 1987 in what is the first of two strikes – with another being held on Monday.
The CWU said that the striking workers are from a number of different divisions within the UK’s leading telecoms companies.
There are expected to be 260 picket lines across the UK, according to the CWU.
Striking workers are believed to “run all of the maintenance on Britain’s broadband services”, according to the CWU, and they also work to “keep up national infrastructure” – including everything from the NHS, to the Ministry of Defence, to mobile phone masts.
Strike action comes the day after BT revealed its first sales growth for five years, with revenues having increased by 1% to £5.1 billion for the three months to the end of June, which is boosted by price increases handed down to customers earlier this year.
Leaders at the CWU have claimed the BT Group is now “gaslighting our members”.
Addressing the strike action, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said in a statement: “Announcing hundreds of millions of pounds in profit on the eve of the first national strike since 1987 smacks of arrogance and complete contempt for frontline workers.
“Our members kept the country connected during the pandemic.
“BT workers have hundreds of picket lines arranged across the UK tomorrow, and will support the CWU in delivering mass strike action.”
He added that BT and Openreach workers “deserve a proper pay rise – and that’s what they’re going to get.”
A spokesperson for BT Group said in response to the strike action called: “At the start of this year, we were in exhaustive discussions with the CWU that lasted for two months, trying hard to reach an agreement on pay.
“When it became clear that we were not going to reach an accord, we took the decision to go ahead with awarding our team member and frontline colleagues the highest pay award in more than 20 years, effective 1 April.
“We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be re-opening the 2022 pay review, having already made the best award we could.”
The spokesperson claimed in the statement that the telecoms companies were “balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders”.
“That includes making once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, vital for the UK economy and for BT Group’s future – including our people,” the statement continued.
“While we respect the choice of our colleagues who are CWU members to strike, we will work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.”
Featured Image – BT Group
Burgerism is opening a fifth location in Denton
Legendary Manc burger joint and takeaway Burgerism is opening another brand new location in Denton as they continue to expand their Greater Manchester empire.
Set to be their fifth brick-and-mortar site, including their existing venues in Salford, Gatley, the delivery-only kitchen in Manchester city centre and the pop-up in Freight Island, the new Tameside venue sees them reach further across the region after first launching back in 2018.
Sharing the news last week, the smash-burger experts have revealed will be bringing their signature patties, wings, fries and homemade dips to Denton‘s Stockport Road.
Popping up in place of the former Pizza Hut delivery store, the latest location is due to open in mid-March this year. Absolute scenes.
Soon to cover customers living in Denton, Hyde, Stalybridge and beyond, people can rock up to the new adjoined car park space to pick up and collect with ease, and lord knows we love a drive-thru.
To tell the truth, they’ve earned so many accolades in the six years since opening that we’ve lost track, having also been named the eighth most-ordered item on Deliveroo in the UK and the single most-ordered burger in Manchester for 2021. They even scored a collab with the one and only Hawksmoor.
They genuinely might be the best burgers in Greater Manchester.
It still remains the most popular item on Deliveroo in Manchester and this newest venue serves as yet more proof that Burgerism is one if not the best in the game and they are set to make their first moves into Liverpool at the popular Blackstock Market too.
The company’s founder, Mark Murphy, commented: “Burgerism brings restaurant quality smashed burgers straight into people’s homes. Our dream is to be the UK’s go-to delivery burger across the UK, like Domino’s is to pizza. And Denton represents the next piece of the puzzle to do that.
“We’re super excited to launch in the North East of Manchester area. Right from day one, we’ve had loads of die-hard Burgerism fans making the pilgrimage around the M60 to Salford and, while we’ve admired their commitment, we felt it was time to bring Burgerism closer to more of our friends and fans.”
We can’t wait for yet another excuse to try the FreeBird and the Wholly Double only in Tameside.
Tram upgrades and track replacements to take place across Greater Manchester this summer
Upgrades to trams and several track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer.
It comes after it was announced last week that an extra £21.4 million investment funding is being ploughed into the Metrolink network over the next 12 months in a bid to “improve” it and ensure that services remain as “safe and reliable” as possible for years to come, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The improvement works were approved by the Bee Network committee last Thursday (22 February).
According to TfGM, the work is part of a planned £147 million package to “maintain, upgrade, and improve” the network throughout the region up to 2027.
Immediate priorities for this summer include track replacement in several parts of the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens and London Road, and on parts of the Altrincham, and Bury Lines too – which transport bosses claim will mean “quicker, smoother, and more reliable” journeys for passengers using these services.
Plans also include a programme of modifications to the trams themselves, and the installing of state-of-the-art safety systems – including sensors in the middle of double trams, and speed warning devices.
Tram upgrades and track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer / Credit: TfGM
New electrical substations are being added along parts of the Bury Line too to additional power so that more doubles trams run in future.
Metrolink is also replacing much of the communications network that’s said to be “critical” to the operation of its signalling and control systems, and is also looking into the replacement of overhead lines on some of the older parts of the network too.
Although the long-term benefits of the works to passengers are expected to be significant, TfGM has conceded that the improvement works set to take place this summer will mean some short-term disruption – but says this is planned to “minimise inconvenience to passengers”.
Vital information about service changes and replacement bus services will be available well in advance of the work, it has been confirmed.
Works are part of a planned £147m improvement package for the Metrolink network / Credit: Mangopear Creative (via Unsplash)
“Metrolink is an integral part of the Bee Network,” explained Danny Vaughan, who is TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, as the plans were announced last week, “And it’s really important that we invest in it so that we can continue to provide a safe, reliable, and positive experience for the thousands of people who travel with us every day.
“This is a coordinated package of planned works to maintain, renew, and improve the network and help to keep Greater Manchester moving.
“While we understand any disruption can be frustrating, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep it to a minimum, and we will make sure passengers know what’s happening well in advance, so I’d ask people to please bear with us while the works are carried out, as the benefits will be there to be enjoyed for years to come.”
For full details of all tram improvement works planned for this year, you’ll want to head to TfGM and the Bee Network website here.