Striking Ayr BT and Openreach telecomms workers have received the backing of South Scotland MSP Carol Mochan.

The staff, who are members of the Communication Workers Union, are protesting to highlight that they are being asked to take a real terms pay cut after figures revealed BT made record profits and CEO Philip Jansen increased his own pay by 32 per cent to £3.5million.

Ms Mochan, of Scottish Labour, said: “In Ayr and Heathfield it was clear the public strongly support the workers and it is becoming apparent that there is a rising sense the country need a pay rise that actually takes into account inflation. “It is despicable that the chief executive of BT has increased his own already gargantuan pay by 32 per cent whilst ordinary employees are expected to make ends meet with even less.”

A BT Group spokesperson said: “At the start of this year, we were in exhaustive discussions with the CWU that lasted for two months, trying hard to reach an agreement on pay. When it became clear that we were not going to reach an accord, we took the decision to go ahead with awarding our team members and frontline colleagues the highest pay award in more than 20 years, effective 1 April.

“We have confirmed to the CWU that we won’t be reopening the 2022 pay review, having already made the best award we could. We’re balancing the complex and competing demands of our stakeholders and that includes making once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade the country’s broadband and mobile networks, vital for the UK economy and for BT Group’s future – including our people.“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. We have tried-and-tested processes for large-scale colleague absences to minimise any disruption for our customers, and these were proved during the pandemic.”