Union berates BT cost-cutting plan - Mobile World Live

Union berates BT cost-cutting plan

03 APR 2019

A trade union representing BT engineers and management overwhelmingly rejected the operator’s sweeping restructuring plan, describing the move as an ill-thought-out scheme which leaves employees with more questions than answers.

The Prospect union said more than 96 per cent of its members working for the operator rejected BT’s proposal to employees, the so-called People Framework, in a ballot on the issue. It urged the operator to get back around the negotiating table.

Its grievance relates to a plan announced by former BT CEO Gavin Patterson in May 2018 to cut £1.5 billion from the company’s annual costs. The strategy included the loss of 13,000 jobs and closing a number of offices, among which is its London headquarters.

Since then, rumours have emerged Patterson’s successor Philip Jansen is set to announce an even deeper restructuring programme with further job losses, though this has yet to be confirmed by the company.

In a statement, Prospect said BT’s plan imposed an “extreme culture change” on workers, and imposed a less transparent pay review system across all levels and divisions. It added that until recently it was unclear where the job cuts would fall and there was also confusion as to which offices would be closed.

Prospect national secretary Noel McClean said the outcome of the ballot “gives a clear message to CEO Philip Jansen that he is not bringing his staff along with him in his future vision for BT”.

“Good companies are built from the inside and organisational change on this scale is rarely successful when it is imposed on people,” he added. “The People Framework does nothing to enhance the security, transparency and visibility of what BT is offering its committed workforce, and leaves employees with more questions than answers. At worst, workers could be fired and re-hired.”

In response, a BT spokesperson said: “We are naturally disappointed but unsurprised by this ballot result. It remains our preference to reach an agreed way forward with Prospect and we will continue to work with Prospect on implementing our plans.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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