BT looks set to suffer disruption to its telephone and broadband services as it faces its first strike in 25 years.
The industrial action could affect a large number of suppliers who rely on BT's broadband infrastructure to supply their services.
The call for action by the Communication Workers Union came after BT rejected the union's claim of a five per cent pay increase. The CWU condemned BT's 'final' offer of two per cent, saying it represented a pay cut of 2.4 per cent in real terms.
The union calls its £68.5 million pay claim "a drop in the ocean", after BT announced profits of over £1 billion, up from a loss last year of £244 million.
Union members were further outraged when, after rejecting employee wage claims, BT announced its chief executive, Ian Livingston, was to get a bonus of £1.2 million on top of his £860,000 annual salary.
"I don't have any problem with Mr Livingston or others getting the bonuses they get for reaching their targets," union boss told the BBC. "The thing is about fairness here. It's my members that actually deliver those targets for Mr Livingston and co. So if it's good enough for him it's good enough for our members."
A BT spokesman told THINQ: “We are disappointed the CWU leadership has rejected what is a very fair offer. Our offer is more generous than those accepted by the union elsewhere and so we are surprised they have rejected it. Their demand is unrealistic."
"We are keen to safeguard jobs for the long term," he continued, "and a realistic pay deal will be a major step in that direction. We hope the union review their position as this is our final offer."
BT has asked managers to provide details of any broader skills they have, for use in the event of disruption [I don't think playing scratch golf counts in this case. Dep Ed].
The company is said to be bracing itself for strike action.