BT workers reject CEO’s cost-cutting plans by 96.3%

BT workers vote by overwhelming 96.3% to reject CEO’s cost-cutting plans

Prospect ballot result is vote of no confidence to BT's restructuring plans that leave jobs at risk.

BT members have voted overwhelmingly to reject controversial plans to restructure the company’s workforce that will see job losses and pay cuts.

Prospect union, which represents BT staff, advised its members to reject BT's final offer on its contentious ‘People Framework’ in a ballot that was launched on 13 March.

Members voted on plans shared by the company to cut costs and restructure, imposing an extreme culture change on workers

Officials, BT reps and members had previously expressed serious concerns about the proposed framework, which seeks to introduce new pay and grading structures in addition to a less transparent pay review system to workers across all levels and divisions. The union feels the move flies in the face of transparency.

The ballot on the restructure plans closed at 12pm on 2 April 2019 and was emphatically rejected by 96.3% of Prospect members working for BT across the UK.

The rejection comes as BT announced 13,000 global job cuts in May 2018, with a further 25,000 speculated by Bloomberg and the Sunday Times in the past week . Until recently, it was uncertain as to where the job cuts could fall.

However, as well as a reduction in staffing, changes to the amount of UK bases BT operates from will see a number of regional office closures, reported in the Sunday Times (31.03.19), with the company planning on reducing its UK-wide offices down to “30 strategic sites”. It is not yet clear which offices will be affected by the closures but the union is bracing itself for more bad news.

Prospect national secretary Noel McClean, leading with reps on the ballot said: “The rejection of the ballot by BT members 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. These changes will not just see the knowledge, skills and legacy of BT vastly reduced, but will severely impact local jobs and grassroots technology industries supporting local economies.”

McClean 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.

“If it doesn’t understand the needs of its own huge UK-wide workforce with absolutely no desire to train or redeploy workers who may be left with no other employment options in their local area, how can it hope to serve wider society? We are demanding that BT urgently gets back round the table to reconsider its short-sighted and ill thought through approach.”