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back to article BT waves goodbye to 10,000 temps and permies

BT is to cut 10,000 permanent and contractor jobs before the end of the financial year in March. The telco, which has 160,000 staff, said 4,000 people have already left. Contractors and offshore workers are expected to bear the brunt of the cuts. The news comes as BT posted results today for the second quarter ended 30 …

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Anonymous Coward

Lucky escape!

Well, for me anyways. I nearly ended up taking a job there. I wonder how much of this is to do with the NHS/CFH debacle?

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Stop

Short Term

Be the first to post a comment ? Really - I'm not ? Surprise!

Ian Livingstone is there to serve the shareholders (that's his duty). Unfortunately, in these times, some want short term good news so the long term gains can be put on the back burner.

BT was a company that invested Strategically - 5 years before return was not uncommon. I would guess only short term - 1 year ROI projects are being run hence the culling of many contractors (including I assume TCS and Infosys staff). What this means for staff in Martlesham I don't know.. there will be a glut of rented accommodation in Ipswich if all the overseas staff leave.

You can tell this is all for the city because of the headline - "10,000 staff to go by year end" when, in fact, it should read 6000 to go on top of the 4000 that have already left. The share price went up - what a surprise.

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Paris Hilton

Phorm Investigation?

I can see this really annoying one or two people in the government at a time when the issue of unemployment is only going to get worse, and what happens when MP's get annoyed? Yep that's right they investigate thing's.

We will now see the letter Martin Selmayr wrote getting a response and a full investigation of BT's trials with Phorm, heads will roll wonder if they will count them as part of the 10,000 jobs?.

Paris because, i've seen her give a job ... it was not very good.

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Alert

Overstocked

Wholesale has been overstocked with staff for years. It was a knee-jerk reaction to not understanding how broadband faults happen and just throwing more and more people at the problem rather than listening to the few experts in the company about line condition and IP companies that had virtually no support staff and reported many of their own issues as BT related. Management could not be seen to be asking the lower orders for advice - despite floods of emails - and did the knee-jerk thing and just increased support staff. My first reaction to being 'reorganised' to Wholesale was that there were around 60% too many staff for the problems and that the systems available were not being used properly to localise faults -- line conditions were not the remit of Wholesale and testing staff ordered to ignore obvious poor line conditions.

A pay/bonus system for management that relies on raw stats underpinned it all - never mind the quality, it's the throughput of work that counts. Staff were encouraged to assist in the continuation of the status quo and slagged off for thinking, just that a core of staff were technical and most of the management were scared of the techies, even tech-based managers were slagged off by their peers.

I just hope they keep the good guys and get rid of the crap managers -- unlikely.

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Anonymous Coward

hope

I really hope they get rid of the useless assholes in their customer "service" teams rather than their top-notch engineers.

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Thumb Down

Fuckin ell

The Gov should step in with twats like this.

Still making millions in profit? Then if you sack thousands and boot them into the welfare system then you can pay for it, or get arrested.

Complete shower of bastards, god i hate BT.

*switches phoneline to Sky Talk just on principle*

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Anonymous Coward

BTBroadband Customer Service Joke

BTBroadband cancelled my Net contract because they suddenly after 8 years of

good connection cannot guarantee a connection. What a bunch of Muppets.

I know BT is not BTBroadband but if it looks like a fish and swims like a fish it has to be BT

What business would treat a loyal customer like this. So I am not surprised at the job losses

as I cannot be the only one getting the Northern Rock style

"We do not need your business. So Fuck Off" treatment.

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Anonymous Coward

Voluntary redundancies

Interviewed on Radio 4 this morning and responding to the question of whether job cuts (among directly-employed staff) would be via "voluntary redundancy", Ian Livingston (BT CEO) claimed that "BT hasn't had compulsory redundancies before", neatly sidestepping the question.

In fact he was telling a half truth at best. Last year, after I had trained up a couple of offshore Indian lads to more-or-less do my job, I was transferred to the redeployment pool. The theory was that you would remain in the redeployment pool indefinitely until you were able to secure a new post. You could also opt to take voluntary redundancy under the NewStart scheme if you wished, but there was absolutely no question of compulsory redundancy.

Such was the theory. In practice obstacles were placed in the way of securing a new job within BT. For example, by carefully adjusting internal job categories, it was arranged that IT people like me could not in practice apply for jobs in IT. You could apply for jobs in other specialisms, such as project management or business improvement, but no retraining would be funded or allowed for. And in numerous other ways, the redeployment pool was subtly structured to make internal redeployment well nigh impossible for 99% of redeployees. After a few months of ever-so-gentle but relentless bullying about lack of progress in finding a new job, I was of course called in and threatened with an inefficiency procedure which would lead to dismissal. Alternatively, of course, I could take the NewStart redundancy package.

In the event, and in my particular circumstances, the financial outcome of taking the "voluntary" package has turned out very advantageous for me. I suppose, at a cynical and selfish level I ought to be pleased. (For the poor buggers in their early fifties who were forced out in this way with no realistic prospect of another proper job, it's another matter.)

BT's cynicism, hypocrisy and dishonesty left a very nasty taste when I left last year after 35 years' service. Had they bitten the bullet and faced up to the legal and other complications of an openly compulsory redundancy programme, I would have left with some residual respect for this sinking corporate ship.

For "voluntary redundancy", read "an offer you can't refuse".

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@Joe K

Actually, they have already paid - NI contributions and taxes paid by BT go (in part) towards propping up the welfare state. In addition to this, permies will get redundancy pay. The contractors will be the ones losing out, but then we're compensated for that by the higher rates we get paid in the first place.

And those millions in profit - I'll bet you have a pension fund, or life insurance or an ISA that will benefit nicely.

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Unhappy

Hope - a Response

Absolutley spot on, this section of BT has single handedly destroyed the reputation of the company. Completely ignorant of even basic engineering concepts and their impact on the services that the company is supposed ( and which it once did) to be no 1 for providing. Excaberbated by the introduction of Indian workers with extremely poor English and/or unitelligble accents.

However the blame must not lie totally with the above inviduals, more with the total bean counting w*****s that run BT, and employed them in the first place. The biggest one has thankfully gone to Lucent ( albeit with a massive pay off and share prices roughly the same as when he came) and what happens just after? A juicy outsourcing deal with BT for his new company, surely some investigation should be carried out? These deals take many, many months to conclude, very suspicious if you ask me! How many more to follow in the coming months?

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Unhappy

Things get worse...

Things continue to get worse for BT's permies. Pension contributions are going up, retirement age will increase to 65 (from 60). Instead of being a final salary pension it's to be based on your career average salary. But of course all these changes are to be done in consultation with the workforce ... strange, the union have just advocated that staff just accept the new terms - I wonder who pays them?? If I were still in the union I'd leave in disgust! This kicks in next April.

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Anonymous Coward

Compulsory Redundancy

Making staff over fifty redundant (rather than accepting voluntary redundancy) woiuld be very expensive for BT if they are on the "B" scheme. That is basically a pension scheme inherited from the Post Office days and it entitles anybody made redundant over the age of fifty to an immediate pension with six and two thirds years enhancement on the terms). Actuarily, the costs are runinous, The fact that 10's of thousands of people were allowed to go voluntarily under those very same terms up to about 6 years ago, is because the actuaries (across the industry) were apparently asleep during the 1980 and 1990s and failed to notice that life expectancy was increasing and real rates of return were declining. Those type of "early retirement" schemes were common to many previously state owned companies, and many of the "blue chip" companies, like banks, that used to copy Government terms in their pension schemes. That's not to mention government employees - it was rife among teachers in the 1990s.

Anyway, the upshot of it is that gently persuading people to leave under reduced voluntary terms will continue. If it escalates to the level of sacking people on the grounds of "non culpable inefficiency" because their skills no longer fit the business requirement, rather than making them redundant, then that's one for the job tribunals. If somebody is found to have been effectively made redundant rather than sacked on valid grounds, then that will get expensive. Targetting under 50s for redundance (as that doesn't incur the pension liability) is not allowed through age discrimination.

The BT pension scheme is capitalised at about four times that of the company. There are far, far more pensioners (and to-be pensioners) than employees. The great majority of these date back to the days of state ownership (at the time of privatisation there were 250,000 UK employees). Given that there are greatly reduced returns on investment funds (partly down to the infamous Brown tax-raid on the pension schemes) then there is the potential at some time in the future that the net capital value of BT could be wiped out by a pension deficit. At that point the company becomes technically insolvent with liabilities, albeit long term ones, exceeding assets.

I should add that the same calculations apply to Government pension schemes - even the funded ones have liabilities greatly exceeding their current values. Then there's all the unfunded pension schemes. All this ought to figure on the Governments public sector finance books but don't. Of course the tax payer ultimately covers this - although a complete collapses of public finance systems in 10-20 years' time can't be ruled out (and then actions would be draconian).

The fact that there are people on this thread who obsess about Phorm when what they should be far more concerned about the financial melt-down of the UK tells me that they live in a nice little fantasy land themselves. Welcome to the new financial world people - it's going to get bumpy, and this is what happens when you run bubble economies floated on hot air rather than real production...

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@AC

"The fact that there are people on this thread who obsess about Phorm when what they should be far more concerned about the financial melt-down of the UK tells me that they live in a nice little fantasy land themselves. Welcome to the new financial world people - it's going to get bumpy, and this is what happens when you run bubble economies floated on hot air rather than real production..."

A dig at me I suppose, personally I could not care about the financial melt down, I paid of all my debts 6 years ago and have not got into debt since, I own my own car, home and have a steady job earning enough to pay my bill's, and take a holiday every year. Why the hell should I care? I did not cause this it is not going to effect me if I lose my job, I’ll go out and get another one doing anything (I have been known to take on full time cleaning to earn a wage until I get a decent paid job again). There are always jobs out there that people won't do, that I am willing to keep myself in credit.

I can obsess about Phorm, because I am in a such healthy situation and really don't care that the worlds governments are taking people to hell in a hand basket, if your so concerned get off your arse and do something about it.

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Anonymous Coward

AC@Compulsory Redundancy

Excellent post. Same applies to the energy industry (I know of many people who get their near-full pension at age 50!).

Of course, many companies are technically insolvent but the law does allow for this technical definition to be ignored if the board decree (and can shoe some evidence of) that there is a liklihood that the situation will be resolved (e.g. investment or return). Otherwise, every company that went into administration (and there are many) because of insolvency would have their directors barred (or in jail) - which is not the case... many many companies are not able to pay their creditors when their bills are due.

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Paris Hilton

obsess about Phorm

Well, can I get any of the money that Phorm are making off me? If not, then why should I not complain about them sponging off me? I'm not a charity, you know.

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Bronze badge

@Pete

I, like you have no debts - quite the reverse. However, if you think this won't affect you then think again. Taxes can hit you, the value and return on your savings can be hit. For a 40% tax payer then it's already the case you can't match inflation (especially if measured against RPI and not CPI). With driving down interest rates, then even the absolute value of liquid assets could be reduced in real terms (that's already happened to things like pension funds). Then, even if you do find yourselof immune to the financial implications, there are very likely to be social consequences of high unemployment which you can't escape. Many of us also have relatives and friends that aren't going to be so well placed which is of at least personal concerns.

Also don't think of just moving abroad to escape all this - unless you've locked your savings into a solid foreign currency, then the value of sterling assets could decline.

A very good article in the Telegraph last week pointed out that one of the largest losers from this current financial shake out are the people who have been prudent. Who have saved, who have put money into long term investments. Where has that money - put into stocks and shares, into bank and telecommunications gone?

So we had better hope that somebody comes along who is better placed to identify a more stable basis for the UK economy than that self-declared financial genius Gordon Brown.

Ask not for whom the financial bell tolls - it tolls for you (apologies to John Donne).

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Anonymous Coward

BT is far bigger than Phorm, or broadband, or phones

Broadly speaking, Global Services is BT's IT solutions arm, but the way that BT works means that it provides services inside and outside the company. It's where most of the computer people are placed and it's the group that has to make money in the marketplace. I can almost assure you that if the government's Keynsian investments work out, it will be hiring people again in three to six months as it will have laid off a lot of the staff that it needs to get things done. It's not what I need at the moment though: I get work from BT and now I will be competing in the job market with the people that have been laid off. Time to get the organ and the monkey out I think.

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Paris Hilton

just in idle curiosity

i wonder what proportion of the newly discarded human resource lived and worked inside the UK, (and of them how many actually maintained, updated and repaired our valuable but fast declining telecommunications network - see the tatters of british rail for a similar analogy) and how many of them are the incredibly cheap foreign outreach sales and complaints departments (the completely useless 1/3rd of society who are good only for reading stupid phrases off a computer screen in order to sell us something that we simply don't want or need, in a substandard pigeon-esque heavily accented version of my natural tongue, so debased that a native speaker can bearly understand it). Paris has a nice tongue.

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@Mark

I agree. Corporations love nothing more than a big fat cash cow provided by unwitting or unwilling punters. If you are generating their revenue in the way Phorm does, then you should get a slice - they are using you to generate income from a third party.

PS No offence was intended by the use of the phrase Cash Cow. I realise from previous posts that you are a vegetarian and hate cows for their extreme methane proclivities.

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Joke

I for one...

... welcome our... oh hang on I work for them!

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