O2 workers reject "insulting" pay offer

Union warns of strike action and "summer of discontent"

Union warns of strike action and "summer of discontent"

UK mobile operator O2 is facing the threat of strike action after workers voted overwhelmingly to reject the company's "insulting" pay offer.

Nearly 4,000 call centre staff, shop workers and engineers at O2 were balloted by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on the pay offer, with 96 per cent of the three-quarters who voted choosing to reject it.

The union claims the package would freeze the basic pay of half the O2 workforce for up to seven years while tying the other half to unattainable performance targets.

Dave Johnson, lead CWU negotiator with O2, warned that a ballot on industrial action is "inevitable" if O2 fails to improve its latest pay offer and said the mobile operator faces a summer of "discontent and disruption".

"It is about time O2 started listening to its workforce instead of insulting them. It is clearly beyond their comprehension that the O2 board can afford to pay themselves huge salaries and bonuses whilst denying them a cost of living increase. This obscene state of affairs is totally unacceptable," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for O2 called the ballot result disappointing but said the mobile operator has contingency plans in place to ensure the network and customer service are not disrupted in the event of strike action.

"We're disappointed with the result and we're still open to dialogue with the CWU but we want to move away from a one-size fits all pay package to one that rewards employees for good performance," he said.