Talk:Strike ballot to go ahead despite British Telecom's belated new pay offer

Latest comment: 13 years ago by Brian McNeil in topic FAC

Original Reporting

COI DISCLOSURE: I have a CWU membership form in my personal mailbox as I am currently engaged to provide technical support to customers of one of BT's residential telephony and broadband service competitors. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:31, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

  • 1320 BST: Called CWU for comment. Ended up leaving voicemail for Kay Currigan(sp?) as told is lunchtime. Unsure if VM cut off before left number to call me back on. Will try again later.

Will then call BT press office (someone be a good chap (or chapess) and look up numbers!)

C'yall later, off to LART the DWP. :P --Brian McNeil / talk 12:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

020 7356 5000. [1] May also be of interest; request an interview becomes an option once you register as far as I can tell. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 12:43, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • Thanks. LART dispatched to the DWP over their allegations of fraud. Now, I'm really going to be difficult with BT ;-) And,... If I get an Indian call centre.... Oh Boy! :-D --Brian McNeil / talk 13:13, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • 14:25 BST: Spoke to a Richard Knowles in the BT Press Office (Direct office number 0207 356 5369).
Nobody currently available for an interview, or prepared to take questions at this time. My details taken to forward a copy of their current statement to my Wikinewsie email address. Confirmed can call back, once statement received, to ask further questions; alas, not likely to get the specific points I would like addressed covered. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

BT's current press statement

  • Statement BT is issuing in response to press queries on their revised pay offer:
"BT can confirm it has made a new two-year offer to the CWU. This offer is currently being considered by the union and, as such, we have no further detailed comment to make at this stage . This offer is an attempt to break the current impasse with the CWU; we hope that they will consider it seriously and respond positively. Industrial action is in no-one's interests" — Richard Knowles. Press Officer, BT Group PLC Newsroom.
Received at 14:34 BST. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:52, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

Questions sent (BCC scoop) in response to above statement

  • According to currently-published reports, a rise of 2% is on the table for this year. How does this differ from the prior offer, which is also reported as 2%.
  • Why did British Telecom wait until the CWU committed to balloting members to making an improved offer?
  • One of the current reports on the BT offer indicates that call centre and back-office operations may be returned to the UK from India. Is this on the table? How many jobs would this bring back into the country?
  • Lastly, related to the prior question, would British Telecom oppose the implementation of legislation to prevent outsourcing to countries without, or with less-stringent, Computer Misuse and Data Protection legislation than the UK?
We'll see.... --Brian McNeil / talk 13:53, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • Received response from BT't Press Office:
"1. We haven't publicised any details of the improved offer at this stage

2. BT felt that the previous offer was fair and realistic and it was more generous than those accepted by the union elsewhere. However, given the impasse, BT decided to make a new offer.

On the other two, again I have to recommend that you refer to our statement." — Richard Knowles.

Post-CWU statement callback


Calls to CWU

  • Called 1500 BST: Had previously been misdirected by switchboard and/or voicemail system. Spoke to Sian Jones in the press office (Direct number 0207 356 5369). Added to distribution list for as-yet unreleased statement (tip: learn your phonetic alphabet for spelling out email addresses :-P).
  1. The repatriation of outsourced jobs has been part of prior, separate, ongoing negotiations.
  2. The CWU received a letter late last night.
  3. The CWU has always been willing to meet with BT to discuss an improved offer (response when querying how the now-offered 2% is better than the previously offered 2%).

Basically, now waiting for the CWU statement, and anything else I can get. If you find a really good source please list below. I don't want this overloaded with sources and unreviewable. I do want to be ready to pounce, and hit the CWU & BT with the disaster-scenario if the ballot looks likely to go ahead and pass. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:13, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply



Need CWU logo while I call 'em --Brian McNeil / talk 13:59, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

Could you explain what they're actually striking about, or at least move it further up the page? — μ 17:26, June 8 2010 (UTC)

Review of revision 1040186 [Passed]




I'm a little concerned about the neutrality of this article. Basically, it's some of the extra "language" such as "a BT press officer in London, forwarded their terse sub-400-word statement, refusing to be drawn on reports", "Reports of senior directors receiving million-pound bonuses, and former Labour minister Patricia Hewitt landing over over £50,000 extra per-year, are characterised as "directors' 'snouts in the trough'". I understand painting a picture for each side of the story, but when BT does not (will not give) their side, this really paints the Union in too positive of a light.

Now I understand BT isn't talking (for obvious reasons since negotiations are ongoing) but I just get the general sense that this story is a bit too sided with the union. Now, is there no information from BT's POV that we can source to balance this story or is all we have to go on their statement? I think it might be important to dig a bit more into BT's side of this because right now I just get the impression that the article makes BT just look like "bad guys" (there are numerous references in the article with language going against the company).

This is a good article otherwise, but it just feels like it needs some work to get its neutrality more balanced. Turtlestack (talk) 21:08, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

  1. The "directors" bit is a direct quote from a source.
  2. 400 words is terse.

And, "painting the union in too positive of a light". C'mon! That is BT's fault, and their fault alone. I phoned them. Twice. I emailed them too. And, negotiations are not really ongoing.

Just to be quite, quite clear on the point of right-to-reply... BT took my name, and my phone number, and my email address. I told them I was putting my article in for review and publication soon. They'd had at least an hour to come up with any sort of response before my last call, and it is now nearly four hours later. If you try and NPOV-ise this based on the above comments I will not be remotely amused; it would be unreasonable, and not in line with how things happen in news reporting. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:44, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

You need to learn to take some honest criticism. Now, please take a deep breath and let's be cool about this. We are wikinews, not the BBC so I don't think BT is going to go out of their way to make sure we get a statement from them. Also, 400 words is terse, but the reader doesn't need to be told that - you are pointing out the obvious to make a statement based on your bias here. The quote, while from the source, when added to everything else quoted seems to read as if you are mining all possible quotes from one side to paint a picture - one quote is sufficient per topic, not multiple. And, as far as who is at fault for not giving us the information we need for a story, well, as reporters it's our job to have all the information before going to press. Since we are not under a deadline from an editor, then we have all the time in the world. Also, I don't appreciate your comment "If you try and NPOV-ise this based on the above comments I will not be remotely amused; it would be unreasonable, and not in line with how things happen in news reporting." - you are very close to being out of line by defending your article by thinly implying that I don't know how journalism works Turtlestack (talk) 22:17, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • I responded to some "honest criticism". Had BT, as promised, phoned me back, then their POV would be better represented in the story.
Precisely what are you expecting me to do about your criticism? Remove some of the material provided by the union? Go shopping for blatantly pro-BT sources to balance this? Need I say, this is not Wikipedia? We may, as you choose to put it, not be under a deadline to an editor. We are, however, under a deadline to our readers, and to the actual relevance of anything published on the project. Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news.
I can, if you review the article's timeline, certainly not be accused of rushing to publish without making a best-effort attempt to get all sides of the story. But, ... whatever.
P.S. Ask around, the above is about as reasonable as I get at this time of night (someone will likely be calling medics for me as I've not exploded in response to the implication that I don't know what I'm doing). --Brian McNeil / talk 23:23, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
Adding a link to the dictionary definition of the word terse does not improve this article in any way, rather, you are using your position here on wikinews in an irresponsible manner to play petty. What you did with the link is something I would expect from a child, not an adult. Now, getting back to the article, I quite clearly also said I liked the article but that it reads a bit biased to me (hence the question mark in my comment title). It is reasonable when challenged to, instead of becoming defensive, to ask a few questions of the person making the criticism, not immediately entrench into your defensive position without considering what the person doing the criticizing is asking. Keep in mind, I could have just edited your article, but instead I posted a comment here to try and flesh out the facts and get some better insight. Please assume the other people on this site also know what they are doing and have the best interest of wikinews in mind as well. This is not a one man operation, so please make more of an effort to play on our team. Also, I never implied you didn't know what you are doing, unless, of course, that is what you assume when someone gives their honest and sincere criticism to you. Turtlestack (talk) 23:41, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
Brian, please cool it. You've really got to learn to respond to constructive, honest criticism without immediately jumping at people's throats; you can be blunt/straightforward to people, yet cannot seem to tolerate when the same is done to you. I don't see any suggestion in Turtlestack's comment that you don't know what you're doing.
The dictionary entry doesn't do much to help the article at hand. We practically never link to Wiktionary, and when we do it's usually for some super-obscure word (which should be explained in the main article body anyway). I'm really unsure if "terse" in this sense qualifies as being overly subjective or biased for removal, my only concern is that it's rather redundant since "sub-400-word" would already indicate it's short.
"Go shopping for blatantly pro-BT sources to balance this?" = Well, if you could glean some relevant info from pro-BT sources to counter the anti-BT, that actually would be a good idea. Remember, write for the enemy. -Tempodivalse [talk] 00:08, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • I still must disagree with the re-addition of the Wiktionary link. You've done it to "terse", a commonly used word, but not to arguably much more complex things such as "ultimatum" or "telephony"? maybe we should we link every word to WT, in that case. And I did look at both definitions, BTW. If it is the second definition, that might actually be worse because "brusque, abrupt" is a rather subjective word. Maybe just use "short" instead? Apologies, I misread your edit summary in the article. Tempodivalse [talk] 12:56, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

At-issue was my concern from the above comments that the second definition was being assumed; this was not my intent, thus I linked to the definition. As a result of what I believe are unfounded accusations of POV-pushing in the article I, in what little time I have had today, asked Brian(NZ) to read the article, then review the discussion here. Turtle may well have thought I was deliberately avoiding him when he popped into IRC last night. It was around 1230 BST, and to get to work this morning I had to be up a little after 0600 BST this morning. I had every intention of leaving at the time I did. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:49, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

  • ADDITIONAL In response to the challenge on more pro-BT stuff, that would definitely be the UK Press Association source. I can say that on the basis of what I was told when calling the Union, and the content of UK PA's coverage. UK PA had far, far more detail than any other source - in terms of what the revised offer contained. The union confirmed to me that they had received a call from a journalist who admitted that BT's Press Office had called, then emailed a copy of the revised offer to them. Needless to say, this was obviously BT believing they had a sympathetic source - and the bringing back outsourced work was meant to be a crowd-pleasing item in the deal. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:12, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • Uh-huh. On a side note though, I misread your edit summary to mean you had meant the second definition, so please disregard that. I still think it's sort of redundant since the fact it was short was communicated by "sub-400-word". Tempodivalse [talk] 16:28, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

Brian McNeil has asked me to NPOV check this article. I have accepted. Our neutral point of view policy states that one should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly. The key point of the policy I would like to highlight is a wn article should fairly represent all sides in a news story, and “not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.” Wikinews. While this policy has been borrowed from Wikipedia, we have had a version of it since the sands of time. (or January 2005).The NPOV policy is of great pillars of Wikinews.

With that in mind, I review as follows.

  1. The “terse” comment. While that is a word with many meanings. It is primarily associated with negative connotations. Brian does make a good point that the word does have many other meanings. However, I would rule on the balance of probability: the use of this word in its current phasing is not NPOV. Better, phasing could have been used.
  2. Does this article fairly represents all sides in a news story, and “not makes an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.” This is the key issue. However, in order for this principle to be breached – Brian would have not had made any effort to contact BT, to provide information. Therefore, it is my personal belief that over the entire article is in line with the NPOV policy. However, as there is the possibility that one would interpret, at first glance that this article is not NPOV. I feel there does exist room for sight improvement. Slight is my key word.

This article is overall a excellent article. (disclaimer:Brian MC and I have known each other on wiki, since the sands of time.) Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 23:41, 9 June 2010 (UTC)Reply




This has been languishing, near-unnnoticed, on the list of candidates for what seems long enough for a glacier to calve several times. I should have raised it with this template a long time ago - pressures of work and all that. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:55, 12 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

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