BT is set to offer frontline workers a special bonus of £1,500 in recognition of their work to keep customers connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bonus is equivalent to about 5% of BT’s average salary and will offered to around 59,000 staff, the company said in a statement.
“BT has made a massive contribution to the national cause over the past year,” said BT CEO Philip Jansen. “We’ve supported the NHS, families and businesses, and avoided the use of redundancy or furlough in our response to the pandemic.”
“Our frontline colleagues and key workers have been true heroes, keeping everyone connected in this most difficult time.”
BT does not expect any change to its full year financial outlook as a result of the bonus payment, which comes amid a company-wide pay freeze. The announcement coincides with plans by Communication Workers Union (CWU) to ballot its members about industrial action following a dispute with BT management.
The CWU is concerned that the company’s modernisation plans could result in up to 270 office closures and thousands of job cuts. Around 3,600 jobs at BT were cut in 2020 under Jansen.
Around 45,000 BT staff are represented by the CWU.
BT’s Q3 revenue for 2020 was roughly £16 billion, down 7% “due primarily to the impact of COVID-19”, the company said. Profit for the nine months leading up to 31 December fell 17% to under £1.6 billion.
BT is not the only UK firm to be offering staff pandemic bonus payments. Supermarkets Sainsbury and Lidl also rewarded staff with payouts, with Sainsbury’s granting frontline workers a 3% bonus – worth about £530 to a full-time employee.