BT job losses – Prospect determined to protect members’ interests

BT job losses – Prospect determined to protect members’ interests

Prospect has been seeking clarity about the numbers, timescales and areas that are potentially going to be impacted.

Following the announcement by Gavin Patterson on 10 May that BT is proposing to cut 13,000 managerial, professional and back office roles Prospect has been seeking some clarity about the numbers, timescales and areas that are potentially going to be impacted. To date, information is limited.

We’ve been asking questions of BT centrally but also through the CFUs and CUs where we’re expecting our industrial relations committees (IRCs) to be involved in the detailed consultation around any proposed structural changes.

So far, we’ve been told that the number of reductions in TSO will be between 1,000 and 1,200 people and that there will be a limited restructuring in Openreach impacting around 300 people.

There are no numbers that have been shared with us for Global Services, Enterprise, Group functions or Consumer as yet and the company has not commenced any formal consultation around redundancies in any part of the business. That means that to date no-one has been put at risk of redundancy.  

We are still talking to the business to try to understand where the cuts are likely to fall, how we can mitigate against the need for redundancies and ensure that any reductions are achieved on a voluntary basis.

We’re equally concerned about how such a large number of job cuts will impact those who remain in BT and we are determined to ensure that the various CFUs' and CUs' organisational plans are robust and sustainable for the challenges ahead.

Rest assured that Prospect is exploring options that will allow members in areas likely to be impacted to volunteer to leave on enhanced terms and avoid the need for redundancies. We’ll keep you informed about how that debate goes.

In the meantime, we’ll also share any hard and fast information with you as and when more details become available. It’s right that BT discusses any proposals with us before there are any concrete plans but the announcements on 10 May have given rise to a lot of anger and anxiety.

Prospect is reflecting that anger and anxiety back to the company as you would expect. It’s also prompted a lot of speculation about the future of BT that adds to the general concern being felt by members.

Prospect BT conference took place on 17 May and the focus of delegates was very much on the various announcements contained in the end of year results and particularly the proposed job cuts.

Delegates unanimously carried the following emergency motion:

Following the announcements on 10 May, Conference believes that BT's plans to cut 13,000 jobs are unworkable, are not thought through, and will cause very serious damage to the company’s operations in both short term and longer terms. Conference instructs the BT Committee to concentrate on the following objectives during consultation with BT. The Committee should seek to:

  • Minimise compulsory redundancy.
  • Maximise effectiveness of redeployment processes.
  • Minimise external hiring into Prospect-represented grades, apart from the graduate scheme.
  • Ensure that, where relevant, BT people will displace subcontractors and agency staff rather than lose their jobs.
  • Ensure that BT doesn’t pass work from closed roles on to survivors who will undoubtedly already be busy people with full workloads.

In addition, the BT Committee must:  

  • Campaign on job security, including pushing back on BTs completely unrealistic plans and emphasising the very valuable work which Prospect members do for the company. Where the job cuts arising from this One BT Plan are unworkable, or are going to cause operational failures or other negative consequences for the business, gather evidence of that and use that evidence to push back on BTs plans.   
  • Keep open the option of industrial action, both generally and in specific high profile areas.   

There’s never been a better time to be a member. Prospect membership in BT is growing and it’s important that trend continues, please talk to your colleagues who may not be members about the protection that membership provides (both collectively and individually) and encourage them to join online here.