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Employee Engagement

Telecoms company BT is to reward its staff with £1,000 in cash and a further £500 in shares as a thank-you for all their hard work during a difficult 12 months of lockdown. The awards will cost the business £110 million when it gives all 59,000 key workers the £1,000 sum in June.

The bonus will then be followed by the shares – given through its employee share scheme – which staff can then cash-in after three years. Commenting on the award – which is the equivalent to 5% of the average employee’s salary – CEO Philip Jansen said: “Our frontline colleagues and key workers have been true heroes, keeping everyone connected in this most difficult time.”

BT joins the likes of Sainsbury’s and Lidl in offering staff bonuses related to their work during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Sainsbury’s gave employees the equivalent of a 3% payout, while Lidl gave each employee a one-off £200 thank-you.

Jansen added: “BT has delivered for our customers through the dedication of all our people, but inevitably the pandemic hit our financial performance, like that of most companies. In this context, we have to prioritise but I am determined that we will do everything in our power to reward our frontline colleagues.

Although BT bonus will be welcomed by staff, it does come on the back of a pay freeze that was implemented this year after only a 1.5% pay rise last April. The company did, however, also award its entire workforce with shares worth £500 last June.

BT has avoided making any redundancies in the last year and has not put any staff on furlough. However, it is still in ongoing negotiations with unions over plans to overhaul the business, and there are reports staff are considering striking for the first time in 30 years. Members of the Communication Workers Union are voting over industrial action in a dispute over impending compulsory redundancies and the closure of some sites.

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