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Rank hypocrisy on BT executive pay laid bare

Rank hypocrisy on executive pay laid bare as BT Group industrial action ballot enters final week

Telecoms & Financial Services BT Group’s double standards on executive versus staff pay have been spectacularly revealed for all to see, with no fewer than three major exposés appearing in the national media in just 24 hours.

Taking centre stage in a roll-call of shame on the front page of yesterday’s  Daily Mirror, BT CEO Philip Jansen’s £3.5million remuneration package was highlighted as being no less than 86 times average pay levels in BT, Openreach and EE – and an eye-watering  97 times that of the company’s lowest paid workers.

Topping a league table of five fatcat bosses facing strikes over pay Mr Jansen, must have choked on his cornflakes seeing his photo dominating the Mirror’s front cover – alongside a ‘Dial P for £s: Bt chief Philip Jansen is one of the fatcats coining it in’ strapline. As the High Pay Centre pointed out in the devastating article, cost of living crisis regardless “those at the top are still doing very well indeed.”

That, however, was just the start of a very bad news day for Mr Jansen. Things got a whole load worse with the Big Issue magazine’s publication of an ‘exclusive’ with the bombshell headline ‘BT call centre set up ‘foodbank’ for its own staff.’

And to cap it all, yesterday evening the hugely influential Bloomberg UK news website published a story about Wednesday’s car crash of a Workplace  broadcast to employees in which the CEO was pilloried by “incensed staff after he told them the telecom giant can’t afford to pay them more because of soaring costs and low growth.”

BT’s own accounts show that Mr Jansen is personally benefitting from a 32% rise in his overall remuneration package this year – while piously pontificating that a company that has just declared a £1.3 billion profit cannot afford to scrape together enough to pay its workers a rise that even comes close to compensating for the rising cost of living.

With shareholders poised for a £761million dividend payout bonanza, BT Group’s chief financial officer is also in line for a 25% increase this year – more than five times the below-inflation percentage rise imposed on most CWU represented grades!

Just last week BT Group’s inflation-busting boardroom pay antics were given short shrift in a special CWU Live broadcast marking the despatch of strike ballot papers. Audaciously, a massive‘vote yes’ banner was attached to the high and immaculately manicured hedgerow that conceals Mr Jansen’s secluded  South West seaside hideaway.

Contrasting the heartrending account of a CWU contact centre member called Sarah – who shared her horror and shame at having to use a foodbank to feed her children – with the gilded world inhabited by the man at the top, CWU head of communications Chris Webb urged members to express their disgust at “Foodbank Phil” at every possible opportunity during the strike ballot that is currently underway.

Many did just that during the CEO’s ‘PJ Live’ Workplace broadcast to staff on Wednesday that caught the attention of Bloomberg. Apart from flooding the comments box with ‘I’m voting yes’declarations, many posted poignant explanations as to why they feel so let down by a company that hasn’t just survived the pandemic but positively thrived on account of the dedication of  frontline staff who put themselves at risk to keep  the country connected.

Speaking at last Saturday’s massive TUC organised ‘We Demand Better’ march and rally in London, CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr observed: “How can it be right when BT, a blue chip company in this country, has foodbanks in its call centres?

“Not foodbanks to give out to the community, but foodbanks for their own workers! It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Embarrassing home truths, it seems, are piling up for BT Group in general and Philip Jansen in particular – and public scrutiny is sure to intensify following next Thursday’s highly anticipated ballot result.

As the Daily Mirror put it yesterday, the “one rule for them” (and another for us) world inhabited by corporate fatcats and their political cronies is well and truly out of the bag….

“Got to keep pay down, Prime Minister?” the headline screamed: “Try telling this lot!”

  • Any members in BT, Openreach and EE who have not yet cast their vote are urged to do so without delay. Ballot papers must have been received by Thursday’s (June 30) post.

Posted: 27th June 2022

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