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BT union strike to go ahead as talks fail

Communication Workers Union is demanding a 5% pay rise, rather than the 2% offered by management.

BT's biggest workers union is pressing ahead with the company's first national strike in 23 years, after the telecom company failed to convince workers over a pay rise issue.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents about half of BT's 128,000 workers, is demanding a 5 per cent pay increase this year after the company froze their pay in 2009 amidst the financial crisis.

The telecom group's two per cent pay rise offer is seen as "blatant double standards" by staff because BT's senior executives are being offered large raises and bonuses.

CWU rejected the revised offer, which reportedly included a 3 per cent rise next year and an assurance against compulsory redundancies until 2011.

Ian Livingston, BT's chief executive who undertook a major cost-cutting drive to revive the telecom major, received a £1.2m bonus after restoring it to profit over 2009-10. He will also take a two per cent salary rise.

The national strike is expected to take place within a month, say reports.