BT accused of betrayal by workers as it cuts thousands of jobs

Changes involve 13,000 layoffs at BT and new pay structure for 100,000-strong workforce

Philip Jansen, who will take over as chief executive of BT Group on February 1st next

Philip Jansen, who will take over as chief executive of BT Group on February 1st next

 

BT Group’s restructuring is starting to bite, with workers accusing the British telecom company of betrayal as it cuts thousands of jobs and sweeps away layers of management.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson began to overhaul the world’s oldest phone company in June, under pressure to revive profits and a moribund share price. The changes involve 13,000 layoffs and a new pay structure for the 100,000-strong workforce.

Sales at all of BT’s businesses except its consumer division are shrinking and the former monopoly has cut prices at its network unit after regulatory pressure to boost take-up of faster internet services.

“Compared to our competitors, we’re top heavy and overmanaged,” BT said in a staff presentation on its internal website. “Getting things done day to day can feel like wading through treacle. We have to fix this, now.”

Ousted

Patterson was ousted by the board in June and will be replaced in February by WorldPay chief executive Philip Jansen.

The Prospect union accuses management of pushing through some of the changes before reaching labour agreements on pay and terms. This is causing a “perfect storm of stress and anxiety”, said the union in a recent letter to its members. BT declined to comment in response to the remarks.

The Communication Workers’ Union says more than 1,700 facilities-management employees could lose job security and benefits in an outsourcing drive announced this week. – Bloomberg