BT announces pay freeze for UK workforce

BT Group has announced a pay freeze for its 100,000-strong UK workforce as part of its efforts to deal with the challenges of operating in the current economic climate.

While the telecommunications firm confirmed that the block on pay would apply to senior executives, it said a decision had not yet been made whether executive bonuses will still be paid this year.

The pay freeze follows the firm’s tumbling share prices, which have fallen by more than 70% to 71.4p. In 2008 BT’s profits fell by 80% to around £113 million in the three months ending 31 December. 

A BT spokesman said: “BT can confirm that, after careful consideration, there will be no pay rises as a result of this year’s review of salaries. This will apply to all UK employees, including BT’s most senior executives. The company has informed its employees and unions.

“This has not been an easy decision but, given the tough economic climate, it is important BT meets these challenging times head on.

“Our unions have always been pragmatic in recognising the challenges that face BT and so we hope they will support our efforts to ensure BT remains a healthy and sustainable company for many years to come”.

Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary at the Communication Workers Union (CWU), said: “A pay freeze is wholly unacceptable.

“BT is still making substantial profits and a pay cut in those circumstances is an insult to staff. The CWU will be considering our formal response to BT’s imposition of a pay freeze early next week.”