Communications giant BT is sending a pro-EU letter to all of its 81,400 staff in a bid to drum-up support for a Remain vote, with 10 days to go until the 23 June referendum. The FTSE 100 firm's bosses will reportedly join with unions CWU and Prospect in explaining why they are backing staying inside the 28-nation-bloc. The joint memo only goes so far as urging the employees to vote in the referendum, rather than telling them how to cast their ballot.
"It will also claim... that the majority of businesses of all sizes believe the UK is better off remaining in the EU, and that investment and economic activity have been undermined by uncertainty about the outcome of the June 23 poll," Sky News reported.
The move will come after Lord Anthony Bamford, chairman of manufacturing company JCB, wrote to the firm's 6,500 staff in the UK. The Conservative Party donor explained he would be voting Leave at the referendum, but stressed it was "entirely a decision for you" how his employees cast their ballots.
"Do I wish to remain in an EU of diminishing economic importance as it moves towards ever closer union? Or do I want us to pull out of the EU, reclaim our sovereignty and regain control of how we trade with Europe and the world?" Bamford rhetorically asked.
Meanwhile, the Leave campaign was boosted again when Sir James Dyson threw his support behind a Brexit over the weekend. "When the Remain campaign tells us no one will trade with us if we leave the EU, sorry, it's absolute cobblers. Our trade imbalance with Europe is running at nine billion a month and rising. If this trend continues, that is £100bn a year," the entrepreneur wrote in The Telegraph.
The latest opinion polls have had the referendum outcome neck-and-neck, with a YouGov survey, of more than 1,600 people between 9 and 10 June, putting Leave on 43% and Remain on 42%. A poll from Opinium, of more than 2,000 respondents between 7 and 10 June, put Leave on 42% and Remain on 44%.
A spokesperson for BT told IBTimes UK: "The Board and senior management of BT have been clear for months that the company's prospects are better if the UK stays in a reformed EU.
"The initiative planned for tomorrow is intended to explain in a direct message to our own people why this is so. We think the UK economy faces risks if we exit the UK, and that would impact the company.
"We earn about a fifth of our revenue outside the UK - so we value the way the EU opens markets.
The union leadership at BT agrees about all this, so it's a joint message with them."