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Thousands of BT workers walk out in first strike in 35 years

The union said the industrial action may cause ‘significant issues’ for those working from home

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BT

40,000 BT and Openreach workers have walked out in the first of two strikes today in a dispute over pay.

Workers at the telecoms giant voted in favour of industrial action earlier this month after they were offered an ‘inadequate’ £1,500 per year pay rise.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the action was the first national telecoms strike since 1987.

It also warned that the strikes, scheduled for today, July 29th, and Monday, August 1st, could affect the rollout of ultra-fast broadband, and could cause connection issues for people working from home.

BT has repeatedly said it made its best pay offer, and would not be re-opening the 2022 pay review.

The CWU has criticised this deal, saying company bosses had ‘stuck two fingers up’ to workers.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said ahead of the strikes there would be ‘hundreds of picket lines’ arranged across the country today. 

Ward said, as per the BBC:Our members kept the country connected during the pandemic. They deserve a proper pay rise, and that’s what they’re going to get.

“Workers at BT Group will never accept their bosses using Swiss banks while they use food banks.”

Ward has previously pointed out how BT staff had received a real-terms pay cut as a reward for working ‘under great difficulty’ during the pandemic.

He said: “These are the same workers who kept the country connected during the pandemic.

“Without CWU members in BT Group, there would have been no home-working revolution, and vital technical infrastructure may have malfunctioned or been broken when our country most needed it.”

This week, BT revealed its first sales growth for five years, which comes as a result of a price increase for customers earlier this year.

The company said revenues increased by 1% to £5.1bn for the three months to June 30th. 

BT said it had engaged in ‘exhaustive discussions’ with the union, before deciding on the £1,500 pay increase, which it claims is its ‘highest pay award in more than twenty years’.

The telecoms giant said in a statement: “We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be reopening the 2022 pay review, having already made the best award we could,” a statement said.

“While we respect the choice of our colleagues who are CWU members to strike, we will work to minimise any disruption and keep our customers and the country connected.”

As prices rise at their fastest rates in forty years, a number of workers across various industries have been striking for adequate pay rises, including railway, health care and education workers.

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Mount Snowdon has officially changed its name following a petition

The petition got 5,000 signatures

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Raintheone / Wikimedia & George Hodan / Public Domain Pictures

Mount Snowdon has officially had a name change, following a petition which garnered 5,000 signatures.

A county councillor from Gwynedd brought forward a motion which encouraged the local authority to drop the English name of both Snowdon and Snowdonia, leading to the petition.

Councillor John Pughe Roberts said the reason for implementing the motion was ‘all down to respect’ for both Wales and the Welsh language.

Caff55 / PxHere

The petition urged the National Park to formally use the Welsh names Eryri for Snowdonia and Yr Wyddfa for Snowdon.

And now, the Snowdonia National Park Authority will use both Welsh names, rather than the English versions.

Officials at the National Park voted in favour of the move earlier this month, saying it was ‘a mark of respect for our cultural heritage’.

Naomi Jones, head of cultural heritage at the Snowdonia National Park Authority, said: ”Many public bodies across Wales have moved to use both the Welsh and English names, or the Welsh name only, when referring to Yr Wyddfa and Eryri, as have many of the mainstream English-language press and filming companies.

“This is very encouraging, and gives us confidence that this change in the Authority’s approach will be accepted for the benefit of the Welsh language and as a mark of respect to our cultural heritage.

“We have historic names in both languages, but we are eager to consider the message we wish to convey about place names, and the role they have to play in our current cultural heritage by promoting the Welsh language as one of the National Park’s special qualities.

“By referring to our most renowned landmarks by their Welsh names we give people from all over the world the opportunity to engage with the Welsh language and its rich culture.”

Raintheone / Wikimedia

However, the National Park will still legally have to use both the Welsh and English names in any official documentation.

Snowdon is one of the most well-known landmarks in the UK, and stands at 3,560ft – making it the highest mountain in Wales.

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Man arrested following three attempted kidnappings of schoolgirls

A 33-year-old was arrested.

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Greater Manchester Police

Police have arrested a man following their release of CCTV footage featuring a car they believe was used in three attempted kidnappings around Salford.

A man driving the vehicle reportedly attempted to force a 15-year-old girl into the car at a bus stop in Monton on November 21st.

Detectives also think the same man ‘possibly’ tried to abduct another girl earlier that same day, as well as a third teenager five days previous.

Now police have confirmed that a 33-year-old man was arrested by officers today, Monday November 28th, on suspicion of three counts of attempted kidnap.

According to Greater Manchester Police, the victims have been left ‘extremely shaken up’.

Officers identified the vehicle in the footage as a black Vauxhall Astra with a silver cover on the driver’s side wing mirror.

Greater Manchester Police

Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield, of GMP’s Salford CID, said: “Although we have made this arrest, we are still very much looking to speak to anyone who may have information or dashcam footage, which could help us to establish the circumstances.

“We understand that the local community will be concerned but we are doing all we can to solve this investigation.

“I’d urge anyone who knows anything at all to please get in touch as soon as possible. In particular we are interested in the movements of a Black Vauxhall Astra 08 plate with a silver driver’s wing mirror cover; the passenger side is black.”

Police are still keen to speak to anyone with dashcam footage from the following times:

  • Liverpool Street, Salford, between Fitzwarren Street and Albion Way on November 16th, between 7:45-8:20pm
  • Mossfield Road and Ackworth Road, Swinton, on November 21st, between 8-9am
  • Rocky Lane, Monton Green and Monton High Street on November 21st, between 6-7pm

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Police believe this car was used in three attempted kidnappings of schoolgirls

Do you recognise the vehicle?

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Greater Manchester Police

Police have released CCTV footage of a car they believe was used in three attempted kidnappings around Salford.

A man driving the vehicle attempted to force a 15-year-old girl into the car at a bus stop in Monton on November 21st.

Detectives also think the same man tried to abduct another girl earlier that same day, as well as a third teenager five days previous.

According to Greater Manchester Police, the victims have been left ‘extremely shaken up’.

Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield said: “It’s very important that we get this man identified and off the streets as soon as possible.”

Police have identified the vehicle in the footage as a black Vauxhall Astra with a silver cover on the driver’s side wing mirror.

Greater Manchester Police

Anyone with dashcam footage from the following times, officers are keen to speak to you:

  • Liverpool Street, Salford, between Fitzwarren Street and Albion Way on November 16th, between 7:45-8:20pm

  • Mossfield Road and Ackworth Road, Swinton, on November 21st, between 8-9am

  • Rocky Lane, Monton Green and Monton High Street on November 21st, between 6-7pm

 

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