Unrest from BT workers on restructure ideology

Unrest from BT workers on ‘out with the old, in with the new’ restructure ideology

The company’s efforts to replace its experienced employees to save costs has been challenged by Prospect members at its annual BT conference.

BT workers have challenged HR bosses who attended Prospect's annual conference with a series of motions passed to oppose the company’s restructuring processes this weekend in Brighton.

Prospect members argued that despite being promised transparency from BT bosses on how they will impose their restructuring ‘People Framework’ policy, many have been left in the dark about how it makes decisions on where the axe falls, often at the discretion of managers who do not offer appropriate alternatives for re-skilling displaced employees in a bid to railroad them out.

Since the appointment of new CEO Philip Jensen, who was tasked with finding 13,000 job cuts on his appointment last year, talks between Prospect officials and BT’s HR bosses have reached stalemate.

With a further 25,000 jobs speculated to go globally this year, union officials reported that BT continues to impose a strategy that saves them an estimated 40% per replacement, yet does not reinvest in res-killing staff and expects less experienced ‘cheaper labour’ staff to do more for less, who are expected to adapt under high pressure.

Motions were unanimously passed instructing the union to continue to fight BT’s People Framework, BT’s recruitment and replacement strategy and redundancy policies.

HR bosses in the room were forced to hear from long-serving staff who questioned why existing staff were seen as ‘less valuable than people outside of BT’ with a warning that workers were going to competitors because BT’s ideology was ‘far too insular’.

Prospect national secretary Noel McClean said: "This year's passed conference motions instructing us to continue to hold BT  to account have indicated that BT is not operating effectively and transparently in its reorganisation despite assurances given last year around implementation of the People Framework."

"As the cracks continue to show, it is clear that its efforts to cut costs are driven by an ideological 'out with the old, in with the new' attack on staff. They have managed to create a hostile environment where  loyal, long-serving employees are railroaded out before they are ready to leave. Their cheaper replacements, many of whom are starting out in their careers, are expected to do more for less, exploiting their need for job security in this precarious working world."

"It is clear they place no value on skills and retraining and re-skilling its long term and experienced employees, some of whom have been adapting to technological changes for more than three decades and are not ready to leave a British institution they have dedicated their lives to.”

A young BT network engineer at the start of his career and has found his long-serving colleagues to be a lifeline spoke passionately about how he believed his colleagues were being treated. He said: “As a young member, I seriously worry about how the People Framework will affect me, after seeing some of my senior colleagues, who I look up, to left without a role. It is demoralising and the expectation for me to take on more for less in their absence is also a concern.”