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A PR Scrap For The Unions

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A PR scrap for the unions

Here is the CWU today on BT’s results, ahead of a two-day strike.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “BT Group are now gaslighting our members. Announcing hundreds of millions of pounds in profit on the eve of the first national strike since 1987 smacks of arrogance and complete contempt for frontline workers… This dispute sits squarely at the feet of Philip Jansen. He represents everything that needs to change about big business in Britain.”

I used most of this in my news story – the union view was well represented.

I also dared to do a comment piece suggesting the union might not be right about this, noting that there are worse places to work than BT and less sympathetic CEOs than Philip Jansen.

The union got huffy. I am “printing rubbish”, they say, on Twitter. “This isn’t an opinion piece. It’s a BT press release.”

Hey, better written than that, surely.

Others on Twitter piled in. One correspondent regretting that my piece isn’t in printed form so he could “wipe my arse with it”.

It’ll be in the paper shortly mate.

Now, the CWU is as entitled to its view as I am to mine.

But I can’t imagine the BT press office reacting in the same way if I’d written that the company had this one wrong.

They’d just keep trying to make their case.

There is going to be a long summer and more of strikes ahead and not just by the CWU.

This is a PR battle as much as it is anything, one the unions need to win.

If hacks as pro-union as me aren’t onside, that suggests they might have a problem.

**TB is taking a break from reprinting BT press releases to think carefully about what it has done. Picket lines allowing, it will return in September. Have a good summer.

Press release of the day

A nice one here, admittedly from yesterday, which was the Bank of England’s 328th birthday, we are told.

Scottish Friendly says that 328 is the exact same number of times the Bank has put interest rates up. It has cut them 491 times.

The average interest rate over that period is 5.9%, over the last 50 years it is 8.9%, compared to 1.25% just now.

The highest rate ever was 17% in November 1979.

None of this is news, but it is all interesting.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How likely is a recession according to NatWest?

2) Will Rightmove’s property margins come under attack?

3) Is BA going to respond to recent criticism from former Heathrow boss Sir Nigel Rudd?

4) What is Astra’s next wonder drug?

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