Today in communications history: BT workers strike ends, 1987

Continuing the tale of the British Telecom workers strike of 1987

Not all strikes in the mid-late 80s ended badly…

On Wednesday 4th February 15-20,000 National Communications Union members marched through London, pausing at British Telecom’s HQ, where negotiations between union leaders and BT management were being held; it being thought that some street manifestation of feeling could help stiffen the spines of the slightly wobbling union hierarchy. Most workplaces were out 100% by this time, though management and scabbing from Society of Telecommunications Engineers members had kept alot of services running.

The strike was biting, however. On Friday 30th January, the internal PABX telecom system at the stock exchange had collapsed; telecom links between banks had also broken down, credit card companies were struggling to connect (at least one had threatened to sue BT for loss of revenue). many exchanges were down to 25% of capacity, others had gone offline.

A tentative contract agreement to end the two-week strike was reached on February 9th allowing for a 12.75% pay increase over two years, compared with the repairmen’s original request for a 10% increase.

The strike ended on February 11th 1987.


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