Q. HOW OFTEN DO BT WORKERS GO ON STRIKE?
A. Not very often. BT workers have not voted for strike action in more than 23 years – before the company was privatised in 1984.
Q. WHO EXACTLY MAY BE GOING ON STRIKE?
A. Members of the Communication Workers’ Union have voted in favour of possible strike action. These are the “blue collar” BT workers, mainly consisting of engineers and call centre workers.
Q. HOW IS IT GOING TO AFFECT ME?
A. The disruption to customers is likely to be minimal. Although BT supports a vast network that provides phone lines not only for its own customers but also the likes of TalkTalk, the system is largely self sustaining. A walkout of a few days is unlikely to bring the system crashing down.
Q. SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM FOR BT?
A. BT’s business will be hit by the strike as they will not be able to connect any new customers, upgrade existing ones or fix any broken lines. They risk losing customers who cannot get repair work done.
Q. DO PHONE LINES NEED REPAIRING OFTEN?
A. Not really. BT says lines only need to be repaired every 15 years. But with a network the size of BT’s this is still a lot of work. Reports that emergency services could be at risk if their phone lines are damaged, are unlikely as special provisions will be made to ensure such services are covered.