Openreach Strikes: What customers need to know

Following the news of a BT Openreach strike, it’s understandable that customers will want to know how the strike is going to impact them. Here we explore and explain the reasons for the Openreach strike, provide details on when it is taking place and share the ways that these strikes may affect customers.

Why are Openreach striking?

Openreach is striking over pay. 96% of Openreach engineers voted in favour of strike action after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) demanded a “substantial” pay rise for BT Openreach engineers and BT call centre workers. The CWU union has publicly criticised BT for its £1,500 pay hike for frontline workers in April, as this equates to an amount between 3% and 8% of earnings, which is extremely insufficient for combating and cushioning the current cost of living crisis across the UK.

When are the Openreach strikes going ahead?

As of writing, there is currently no confirmed date for the Openreach strike. The earliest date that a strike can be called is 14 days after notice has been served to the company. Despite there being no confirmed date for the Openreach strike, November is currently being mentioned as the time that the strike is most likely going to take place.

How will the Openreach strikes affect me?

The Openreach strikes are very likely to affect customers in three specific areas: installations, maintenance and customer service. Below you can find more detail about how these three specific areas will be impacted by the strike:

  • Installation: Installation services by Openreach engineers will be significantly reduced, if not completely suspended during the Openreach strikes. The impact will depend on the type of internet you are having installed. If you’re scheduled to have new fibre broadband installed within your home or business on the days the strikes are set to take place, your appointment will have to be moved.
  • Maintenance: In the same way as installation services, maintenance services will also be difficult to access during the strike period. Common maintenance services carried out by Openreach include fixing faults with phone and broadband lines. It’s highly likely these services will be inaccessible during the strike, leaving some customers without wifi or landline connections.
  • Customer service: With many Openreach workers striking, it may be difficult to get hold of customer service teams. If you have a problem with your fibre broadband and want to discuss the issue with a member of Openreach’s customer service, you will likely have to wait until the strike period is over. Be prepared for more delays too as the company plays catchup.

What can I do to minimise the effects on my service?

To minimise the effects of the Openreach strikes on your broadband service, it’s important to ensure that your broadband is functioning correctly prior to the strikes taking place. If you need to contact customer services to organise a maintenance check or if you’re waiting for a new broadband installation, act quickly to arrange a new visit.

If your provider is on another infrastructure builder, like CityFibre these strikes will not affect you.

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