Nearly 60,000 frontline workers at telecoms giant BT are to get a £1,500 special bonus in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.
The group said 59,000 of its key workers will receive £1,000 in cash in June, with £500 to be awarded in shares under its employee share scheme after three years.
The payout – costing BT £110 million – is equivalent to around 5% of average employee salary, according to the group.
BT chief executive Philip Jansen said: “Our frontline colleagues and key workers have been true heroes, keeping everyone connected in this most difficult time.
“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 and I am determined that we will do everything in our power to reward our frontline colleagues.”
The group has been playing an important role during the pandemic, helping keep Britain connected as many people have been working from home.
BT also awarded its entire 100,000 workforce shares worth £500 for each employee last June to reward their efforts during the crisis.
The latest bonus comes despite a pay freeze across the company and amid an ongoing dispute with trade unions over BT’s overhaul plans.
Employee members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are voting over industrial action in a row over jobs, which threatens the first national strike at BT in more than 30 years.
The dispute, over compulsory redundancies and the closure of sites, has been running for more than a year.
The CWU vowed to “re-double” its efforts to secure an agreement on job security in spite of the bonus announcement.
A spokesman said: “We believe our members deserve this for all their hard work over the past year but this is not a resolution to the 2021 pay negotiations – as acknowledged by Philip Jansen himself.
“The unconsolidated payment is yet another example of the short-term approach the company has adopted in its race-to-the-bottom tactics on terms and conditions.”