CWU members back O2 pay deal

Union members at O2 have voted four to one to accept a deal that represents a 5.25-percent pay rise over two years for call centre, retail and engineering staff

Communication Workers Union members voted four to one on Thursday to accept a pay deal at O2, following seven months of negotiations between the union and the mobile operator.

The pay deal, which represents a 5.25-percent rise over two years, is valid from April this year and will be paid in August salaries, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said in a statement on Thursday. The union represents more than 3,000 call centre, retail and engineering employees at O2.

"This is a strong result for a good pay deal," CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said in a Thursday statement. "The majority of staff in O2 can now look forward to decent pay rises for this year and 2011.

"This two-year deal provides stability for both the company and our members at a time of economic uncertainty. We're really pleased with ballot result and now look forward to working with the company on other work issues," Kerr added.

A two-percent offer from O2 was rejected by the union in March and again in June — in the latter case by nine votes to one. In addition to wanting a more significant rise, CWU members also wanted improvements to O2's system of giving pay increases to accompany promotions within the company.

In July, the CWU and BT averted a strike at that company, where around 60,000 employees are members of the union. That pay deal, which amounted to a 9.3-percent increase over three years, followed the first national strike ballot at BT since 1987.