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BT to axe 13,000 jobs and leave London HQ in cost-cutting plan

PUBLISHED: 07:39 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:56 10 May 2018

BT has announced job cuts.  Picture: BT.

BT has announced job cuts. Picture: BT.

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BT is to axe around 13,000 jobs over three years as the telecoms giant aims to cut costs.

The company said the job losses would mainly affect back office and middle management roles.

There are also plans to exit the BT headquarters in central London.

The BT facility at Martlesham, near Ipswich, employs up to around 3,000 staff. Asked whether it would be affected, a BT spokesperson said: “There are no details at this stage of either the reduction in roles, or the new jobs we have announced today, or what this means for individual locations around the country. We have been clear, however, that the changes will represent an investment in the jobs and skills needed to strengthen our networks and customer service.

“Today we’re announcing that we will reduce the number of offices we have in the UK over the coming years, developing a network of 30 modern workplaces across the country. There are no details yet of what this means for individual locations around the country.”

He added: “Adastral Park is capable of housing circa 3,000 people but the population varies. We’re looking to house people in an environment that better enables modern working practices, such as open plan and collaborative spaces.”

Some of those Adastral Park employees are working for other high-tech businesses, and partner companies, rather than BT.

The spokesman added:“Not everyone in BT Centre is losing their jobs. Many will relocate to the new London office, or the centres around the UK where appropriate.”

The announcement comes as BT looks to cut costs by around £1.5bn by the third year of its revamped strategic plan.

The telecoms firm added that it would be hiring around 6,000 new employees “to support network deployment and customer service”.

BT has around 106,400 employees globally, with 82,800 in the UK including around 10,000 employees across the East of England with a significant number of those at Adastral Park in Martlesham.

The announcement comes nearly a year after the company said it was to axe 4,000 jobs as part of a restructuring of its Global Services unit.

BT explained on Thursday that it was making moves to simplify its operating model by “de-layering” its management structure and ensuring there are “fewer, bigger, more accountable leadership roles”.

It was also trying to improve productivity across its core UK operations, including “process simplification and automation to reduce costs”.

Plans to ditch its London headquarters were made in an effort to reduce inefficiencies that it said were created by being housed in numerous sites across the UK.

Commenting on the business plan, chief executive Gavin Patterson said BT was in a position to be a “leader in converged connectivity and services”.

Unions have reacted angrily. Philippa Childs, national secretary of professionals union Prospect, said: “It is particularly disappointing as Prospect has been working closely with BT to ensure that the impact of organisational changes including restructuring and re-organisation have been thoroughly examined but this number sounds unrealistic.

“BT staff at all levels work tirelessly to provide an excellent service to customers. Many of the roles that BT is proposing to cut are highly skilled professionals and the loss of that expertise could impact BT’s research and innovation capability. We are also concerned that cutting such a large number of roles will inevitably impact those who remain in BT and could lead to work being pushed down to employees in lower grades.”

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