Around 100 BT union reps from Prospect, the largest union for BT managers and professionals, voted on the next steps they will take. An emergency motion allowing members to keep all options open was proposed at the Prospect BT annual conference and passed unanimously.
The emergency motion delegates voted on said: “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.”
It outlined the members’ priorities in response to the cuts. These priorities include: campaigning for job security and actions to minimise compulsory redundancies and maximise the effectiveness of redeployment.
The FTSE listed company is going through a restructuring programme which also involves evaluating job roles, pay structures, and how pay and bonuses are awarded. Prospect has raised concerns that the cuts are ill-thought out and could harm the ability of BT to respond to competition and the development of new innovation.
Sites including Adastral Park in Ipswich, BT’s global research and development headquarters, are likely to be affected by the proposed cuts. The development centre, which files around 100 new inventions a year, is home to many start-ups and invests around £500m into R&D annually.
The types of jobs Prospect expect to be affected are key to development of the business in areas such as the Technology, Service and Operation (TSO) division and Global Services.
Prospect national secretary Philippa Childs said: “BT’s short-termist approach prioritises profits over people and could result in the business not being prepared for the future.
“Many of the people in the roles affected by BT’s proposed cuts are highly qualified with specialist expertise and have been integral to developing and supporting the communications infrastructure throughout the UK.
“World-class research and development is one of the driving forces behind the future of our economy, particularly as Brexit approaches. The government must meet with unions and stakeholders to ensure that any job cuts don’t disrupt development.”