New pay offer in bid to avert BT strikes

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Telecoms giant BT has made a new pay offer to thousands of its workers in a bid to avert industrial action, it was revealed today.

It is understood the company has made a two-year offer, worth 2% this year and 3% in year two, plus extra payments of £250, subject to performance.

The firm is also believed to have pledged not to make any compulsory redundancies between now and the end of 2011.

The move followed a warning by the Communication Workers Union that it was pressing ahead with a ballot for strikes over pay.

The union set a deadline of noon last Friday for BT to improve a one-year, 2% pay offer.

The deadline passed, leading the union to confirm it would be holding a ballot, with the timetable set to be announced in the coming days.

BT is also believed to have told the union it would look to bring call centre and back office jobs back from India and switch agency and contracted-out work back in-house.

A BT spokesman said today: "A two-year offer has been made but I cannot confirm the details. Industrial action is in no-one's interest - BT, customers or the union - so we hope the new offer will receive a positive response.

"The CWU has helped BT make good progress this year and we took the union will take a realistic approach and work with us so we can make more progress in the years to come."