BRADFORD workers are picketing outside the Openreach Regional Training School today in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) including call centre workers and engineers, have walked out for 24 hours following action on Friday.

The strike is against a £1,500 pay increase for all employees, which the CWU says means a real terms wage cut because of the soaring rate of inflation.

One worker, Andrew Oxley, 45 has been with the company for 26 years.

He was on the picket outside the Legrams Lane training school and said: “This isn’t something I ever envisaged having to do and while we do want a pay rise it’s more the communication.

"We're loyal workers and we deserve it."

Workers bought their children to the picket line to showcase how deep the issue was.

Peterlee Smith, 44, who has worked for the company for 16 years said: “I’ve brought my son with me today, because this affects him.

“There’s a rise in inflation and if we’re not getting a decent pay rise then it’s going to impact him and my whole family.

“In the pandemic, we were seen as key workers and now we’re not even deserving of a decent pay rise.”

Union workers and Bradford East MP Imran Hussain stood on the picket line to show their support for workers.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Workers picketing outside Legrams Lane site Workers picketing outside Legrams Lane site

A BT Group spokesperson said: “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 1st 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.

“We’re balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders and 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.

“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. We have tried and tested processes for large scale colleague absences to minimise any disruption for our customers and these were proved during the pandemic.”

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