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BT Group goals to guard 999 companies throughout strike

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The BT Group has stated it should do “whatever it takes to protect 999 services” throughout a strike by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in Northern Ireland.

Staff who reply emergency calls are amongst a whole lot of BT Group employees in NI resulting from go on strike on Thursday.

CWU says most of its members at BT’s 999 name centre will strike.

About 120 name handlers are the primary level of contact for the general public in an emergency state of affairs.

Those staff, based mostly in County Armagh, then relay calls to the suitable service such because the police, the hearth service, or the ambulance service.

“We have about 1,600 people in BT/Openreach in Northern Ireland and we expect the majority of them to be on strike,” CWU NI Regional Secretary Erin Massey stated.

“We were on strike before, but as part of that agreement the 999 emergency handlers were not on strike.

“We have to point out the corporate we’re critical.

“It is not an easy decision for us to make, for the emergency call handlers to go on strike, but the company has given us no other choice.

“They are ignoring our calls for to return to the desk.”

Ms Massey stated staff “need a respectable pay rise, not the pay rise of two% imposed by the corporate” which she said represented “a pay lower when measured in opposition to the price of living will increase”.

“We have 999 operators within the UK counting on foodbanks – it’s shameful,” she added.

Some 40,000 BT Group workers in the UK are set to strike on Thursday as well as on 10, 20 and 24 October in a dispute over pay, according to the CWU.

In previous strikes, the union agreed with BT that 999 call handlers would not strike, to avoid putting pressure on emergency services.

The CWU said more than 500 operators in 999 call centres across the UK were now joining the strike.

BT Group said it gave its staff a £1,500 a year pay rise in April.

It said this represented an increase of about 5% on average which rose to 8% for the lowest paid and was the highest pay rise in more than 20 years.

But the CWU said factoring in that the inflation rate had reached a 40-year record high of 10.1% in July – the pay offer represented a “actual phrases pay lower.”

In a statement, the BT Group acknowledged its “colleagues are coping with the impacts of excessive inflation”.

‘Work to minimise disruption’

It said that while it respected the right of colleagues to take industrial action, it was “profoundly disenchanted that the CWU is ready to take this reckless plan of action by together with 999 companies in strikes”.

“We will do no matter it takes to guard 999 companies – redeploying our individuals to an important precedence is a standard a part of BT Group operations,” it added.

“We made the very best pay award we may in April and we’ve held discussions with the CWU to discover a manner ahead from right here.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected”.

Speaking to BBC News NI’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Ms Massey rejected BT’s declare that the union’s actions had been reckless, and as a substitute blamed the corporate

“They’re the ones not coming to the table,” she stated.

The Department of Health has been contacted with regard to the strike.

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