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
Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead, age 41
Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead at the age of 41, his family has announced.
“Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners’ office.
“The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.
“We ask that you kindly respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”
Featured image: ITV
A Japanese fine dining restaurant is opening in the former Randall & Aubin site
A new Japanese fine dining restaurant will open on Bridge Street in Manchester this October, bringing a theatrical ‘multi-sensory’ dining experience to the city.
Giving diners the chance to dine from specially created 7 and 11-course tasting menus or opt for a traditional ‘chef’s choice’ experience at its six-seat Omakase counter, bosses say it will offer a contemporary interpretation of Japanese dishes currently not seen outside of London.
Called MUSU, which translates as ‘infinite possibilities,’ the restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Patron Michael Shaw, who has worked at top eateries including Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and Richard Neat’s eponymous restaurant in Canne.
Shaw has spent the last 18 months honing his passion for Japanese cuisine in preparation to open MUSU and will bring on Head Sushi Chef Andre Aguiar, who has trained under renowned Japanese sushi master YugoKato, to head up the kitchen.
When MUSU it opens its doors on Bridge Street on 6 October, diners will be treated to a new tasting menu concept that promises to deliver a ‘multi-sensory dining experience.’
Its menu is divided into three sections – Sentaku, Kaiseki and Omakase – giving diners the choice between ordering dishes a la carte style, opting for a set seven or eleven-course tasting menu, or entrusting the chef to create their ‘perfect menu.’
As for the new high-end Japanese restaurant’s design, MUSU’s multi-million-pound interiors will boast bespoke Italian furniture, subtle mood lighting and bespoke Geisha-inspired walls, with a bar made from Dekton stone, banana leaf patterned brass and onyx.