BT jobs axe to hit Suffolk hard

UNIONS today feared the axe would fall heavily on BT workers in Suffolk under plans to cut 15,000 posts at the telecoms giant.

UNIONS today feared the axe would fall heavily on BT workers in Suffolk under plans to cut 15,000 posts at the telecoms giant.

The firm looks set to target agency staff and contractors - a large number of whom work at Adastral Park's research and development site in Martlesham.

Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union, said: “We think Martlesham will be hit fairly badly. There is a lot of technical work done there by contractors.

“It is really tough out there at the moment, not just for people working directly for the company but people who supply BT and carry out maintenance work.”


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The telecoms giant ended speculation by announcing up to 15,000 redundancies - almost ten per cent of its workforce.

The firm also revealed it had cut 15,000 posts in the last 12 months, 5,000 more than expected.

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BT said it was aiming to cut the jobs through natural wastage, non replacement and voluntary redundancy and had no plans for compulsory lay-offs.

BT revealed in its annual financial results today that its workforce fell from 162,000 to 147,000 in the year to March.

The firm had predicted a reduction of 10,000 but said the extra cuts largely came from agency staff.

A similar total reduction is expected next year, said a spokesman.

The firm gave no indication of the likely number of directly employed or agency staff jobs which will be cut.

BT also revealed it was considering bringing back some work which has been outsourced to countries including India in recent years.

A programme of installing fibre broadband might be accelerated, which could create 1,000 jobs.

Suffolk has around 5,000 BT employees, of which 3,000 work at the Adastral Park's research and development site in Martlesham.

A spokeswoman said the company said it could not put a figure on the number of positions likely to be lost at Martlesham, but it was possible that people leaving would not be replaced.

A programme of installing fibre broadband might be accelerated, which could create 1,000 jobs.

The company also announced it would be increasing its pensions payments from �280 million to �525 million a year, although there was no new figure for the size of its deficit.

BT said it had worked very closely with its unions to ensure that alternative work is found for any members of staff who didn't volunteer for redundancy but whose position has gone.

More than 2,000 staff have been found alternative work within BT and the company said its voluntary approach was different from other companies who have recently laid off staff.

"BT has no plans to introduce compulsory redundancies. Our aim is to work closely with the unions to reduce BT's total labour cost, of both direct and indirect staff, as this is critical to the success of the company going forward," said a spokesman.

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