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back to article Another 15,000 jobs to go at BT

BT has cut 15,000 jobs this year, and will lay off another 15,000 people in the year ahead. Problems at BT Global Services, which made a loss of £1.5bn on revenues of £2.1bn in the quarter, contributed to an overall loss before tax for the year of £134m for the whole group. BT expects revenue for the group to fall between 4 and …

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Dead Vulture

The Titanic business model

Good old Global Services. Old 'Sir' Ben Verwaayen got the business model right there didnt he? Outsource all development to the sub continent, now they've got BT GS by the short and curlys and charging them a bomb for everything! I feel sorry for the UK guys left bailing the sinking ship, looks like they will pay in the end.

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DM
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BT Outage

I have several customers who are having problems with their BT Business Broadband today. There seems to be a widespread (but not national) outage. I wonder if some disgruntled engineer pressed the off switch as he went to get his P45 (:

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Flame

What did anyone expect

... with an ex-Dixons accountant in charge. BT is no longer an infrastructure company, it's a retailer with incredibly short term goals...

BT, BR, Electricity and BG - monumental failures in privatisation when long term country requirements are considered.

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Time to Go

So BT have made a loss? This is despite havng an effective monopoly on Internet access and steadfastly refusing to spend money on making broadband available to millions in the UK and providing a poor service at best to those who do have it. It's high time this stumbling unaccountable monolith was broken up.

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Anonymous Coward

Who is to blame

I find it incredible that the shareholders sit back and watch the bunch of idiots that run BT run it to the ground. The Phorm Webwise incident is a clear example of a company that does not know what its left or right hand is doing. People are leaving BT right now because of this. They are untrusted and beginning to acquire a level of hate that they must rectify.

What do the idiots do: Lets keep going with this unmitigated PR disaster. The shareholders deserve better.

When you do get rid of those idiots, make sure they are not rewarded for their failure.

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Shame...

Feel sorry for the guys left... i used to work in the alness office and got alot of friends that still do.. this cant be good.

having said that i left openreach last year for fear of a sinking ship...

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@AC 9:16

Absolutely. BT have lost the plot. They exist purely for their own ends and have total disregard and contempt for the law, their customers and non-customers.

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Unhappy

Job for life.....

that's what they used to say.

Get a job with the Post Office (as it was in 1980, when I joined) and you've got a job for life (and a bloody decent pension at the end of it).

In 30 years BT have changed from a large, outdated, dinosaur that, at least, cared for its staff and customers into a large outdated dinosaur that no longer gives a shit about either.

I left as an employee in '95 because of a lack of prospects and as a customer in '08 because of Phorm.

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IT Angle

re: job for life

Oddly enough, I joined Post Office Telephones in 1980 prior to the carve up between Thatcher, Murdoch and the privatisation greed ( it's rather convoluted but worth looking in to). By 2006 when i finally took the money and ran it was still a sexist and racist dinosaur to work for. By '95 the full effects of the huge 're-organisation' were really biting, I didn't have a steady job in the firm since '92 when they closed our engineering team overnight - came in on Monday to find I was being paid for not working.

After ending up being shoved in to the fledgeling Broadband Repair for 5 years of suffering a low to middle management who hadn't a clue about how the product worked but was only interested in results based on movement of work, I got fed up trying to fight the customer's corner and the countless arguments and veiled threats of 'discipline'. They never asked those who worked on the coal-face about things like line conditions and signs of customers possibly being taken over as a 'bot - (dry joints, wet joints, line length, aluminium cable, cable routing for the first and dropping connections, slow speed, heavy unexplained traffic for the second). ISP's were often pulling fast ones by claiming it was always down to BT when they were supplying thier own customers with modems that you'd have thought came free with a packet of cornflakes - but management knew best and it took about three years for them to wake up. And don't mention crap kit at exchanges.

Answering the phone and moving the job around the system were always the main concerns. Eventually, the decent wages weren't enough and I legged it. One manager asked me 'What are you going to do?' , "I've got a life" was the reply.

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Black Helicopters

'staff leaving costs'

Talking to BT personnel, there's a growing impression that one way of saving on 'staff leaving costs' has been to make it easier to sack people. Client complains on a project you managed? Formal notice, two weeks to improve, or you're out. This has happened regardless of whether the issues have been resolved, or if they had any grounding to begin with.

So... BT are culling a lot of experienced (read 'expensive') staff, replacing them with cheaper/offshored/junior ones, and so 'saving money'.

Give it a few months and we'll be lamenting why BT staff seem to know nothing.

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Alert

Find the poison pill...

BT Global Services was, at one time, one of the more profitable areas of BT's business - certainly when it came to consultancy and outsourcing activities (the old Syntegra division for example). In fact, I seem to recall that there was a time not so many years ago (5 or 6-ish?) when BTGS and its ilk were the only bits of the company making a profit.

Then some numpty put in all the bids for the national patient record system (NPfIT, CfH, whatever they're calling it this week). When BT proceeded to win a load of that work, monumental mismanagement and general cocked-up-ness followed on both sides of the contract, ultimately leading to the whole thing becoming an expensive albatross for BTGS. Accenture and others had the nous to see what a poison chalice that project was and walk away from it - even if it meant taking a financial hit in the short term. BT are in the position where they won't (or can't afford) to do that.

The annoying thought is that, unless BTGS does manage to bring the whole of BT down with it, the remaining divisions (including our inPhormed friends at BT Retail) will probably be tasked with trying to buoy things up with revenue/profit of any sort - even if it comes from flogging your browsing habits to you know who for a juicy backhander. So I wouldn't be surprised if the poor results make BT Webwise more likely to go live in the short term. Then, by the time that the senior management realise that they've actually shot themselves in the foot all over again, it will be too late.

Unfortunately, looking at the telephony and broadband marketplace as it stands today, I can't really see anyone being any better at it than BT - certainly not if they have to take on the business on the same scale and under the same conditions. Although, looking at it from the 'glass half-full' point of view, I'm not sure that anyone else could be any worse at it either!

Oh well, it will be interesting to watch anyway...

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I don't understand

I fail to understand this conundrum. A company, any company, employs staff because they need them to allow the company to achieve certain desired results. Then, management decide they need to cut costs and get rid of the very staff that they previously felt was needed.

How can that be so? Did management make a cock up by employing far too many staff in the first place?

If so it 's a management fail, isn't it?

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@re:jobforlife (Elmer Phudd)

Couldn't agree more.

BT Whoresale are a mess, BT Groupies a mess. BT Opensore a mess and charging Whoresale for it.

The UK BB market is dire where BT is concerned and this is due to a number of problems in no particular order:

1. Excessive middle and senior managers who have risen through the ranks usually from engineering and have few management skills at all and are totally ineffective (Not all but most)

2. Automated, low level scripting on fault diagnostics work.

3. Redeployment of 150 type skilled staff to Broadband technical support roles - If you pay someone peanuts to run a script you are not going to get a knowledgeable, experienced technical support person.

4. Offshore expertise - Read low level, cheap as chips scripted and watered down uselessness. It is not their fault but it is the fault of the middle and senior managers who know no better and have built their business model on this approach.

5. Service by fear – of missing a statistic or measure. How many BT staff can comfortably fix a customer’s service today without worrying they will fail their balanced scorecard measure? Fail the company Grade of Service stat? You can answer as many calls as you like in x seconds but if the service provided is shit you aren’t going to win any prizes.

6. Early release of experienced, hard working staff at the expense of dinosaurs who are just treading water waiting for the same release but cannot quite make it.

7. Archaic Unionised mentality rather than a proactive “Fuck” the unions service driven mentality.

8. Field engineers who happily sit in industrial estates or hidey holes for hours after doing bare minimum on jobs allocated and knowing they’ll pass a QA audit by assessors who couldn’t assess a ring doughnut!

There’s many more but you get the idea.

Lots of great hard working BT staff wrongly deployed in stupid roles, poor management and support for them yet the Neanderthals and ineffective ones get away with it.

BT – You SUCK!

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n
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BT = Bloody Terrible

They have personified rip-off britain since forever with their high charging monopoly.

That won't be broken up because they do so many favours for the spooks - (They have the prisons telecoms contract for eternity)

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Joke

Title

Hopefully they sack the guy who's throttling my Internet access.

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Unhappy

Craptocracy

@ AC 12:14

***"Lots of great hard working BT staff wrongly deployed in stupid roles, poor management and support for them yet the Neanderthals and ineffective ones get away with it."***

That's because BT operate (or did when I was there) something I call a "Craptocracy". Because of the unionisation you mention, the only way a manager can get rid of crap staff is to offer them up for promotion.

The result?

The crap rises to the top while the good workers get passed over, pissed off, and leave.

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Congratulations BT!

It truly takes a monumental amount of incompetence to actually lose money running a virtual monopoly, dictating terms to your rivals, and sweethearted into what should have been vastly lucrative contracts by friendly politicians. Mr Livingstone, I presume?

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Anonymous Coward

What this means

I guess that it will now take them 3 hours to not answer the phone to their customers rather than 2?

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Coat

@Craptocracy

>The crap rises to the top while the good workers get passed over, pissed off, and leave

I think the Dilbert Principle applies alongside your theory.

These two principles certainly apply in the place I'm in - had 8 months of solid "get stuff done" and "support my workers" leadership, then he was shoved out to make room for someone who's damage they needed to "contain" before she knackered anything else. Ok, so we were pretty solid, and the hope was we wouldn't break, but the new lot are so monumentally idiotic, they're going to do it!

Mine's the one with a CV in the pocket

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Oh guess what ...

On Radio4 I've just heard that if BT goes bust the taxpayer will be bailing out the pension fund to the tune of 18-20 billion.

Here we go again ...

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Paris Hilton

@DM

Snap!

Our phone line was completely dead all day (Southsea); according to the BT engineer who called it was an "underground technical problem" that was affecting our line only.

Sounds awfully suspicious and unlikely to me!

Paris, because she never has any technical problems down below ...

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Happy

Bail out the BT pension fund

Why?

Last I heard BT is now a wholly private company. The government no longer has even a "Golden share" in it.

They are not obligated to bail out the BT pension fund any more than any other company pension fund.

BT liked the idea of being like the IBM services company (called Global Services) but don't seem to have quite the management calibre.

In the meantime let's all do our bit to help BT go where it deserves. If you've got BT broadband, dump it.

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@greg

The taxpayer bailing out pension funds will simply be the return of the taxpayer theft that GB initiated at the start of the Labour government. Except that in the meantime, the cash has been spent rather than invested....

It really was the most monumentally stupid piece of taxation ever, perfectly timed to assist the problems pension funds found themselves in.

Labour - helping you lose your defined benefits pension

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Flame

I'm with BT

Got Firephorm on my Firefox (as well as noscript and adblock), and as soon as Webwise go's live (or at least as soon as their T&Cs change), I will be phoning them up and ask for termination of the service before the contract is up. When they refuse I'm going to start proceedings against them in small claims court.

Instead of exhorting folks to leave (the company or the country), we should be fighting (in a passive and non aggressive way), for our rights. A 15% drop in BTs retail customers is nothing, but 15% of BTs customers taking them to court is (reported) news.

The current generation of politicians, as evidenced by the expenses thing (recall the Reg reporting this some time ago), proves they are utterly corrupt, in the pockets of big business, but they do not yet own the judges.

Bottom line, if Phorm inphect BT, it'll only be a couple of years bephore every ISP will be phorced to follow the party line. Where will you run to then, Australia, China?

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Gates Horns

Lunatics x Asylum = BT

The comments about a craptocracy are absolutely on the money. As anyone who has either sold to BT or worked for them (and I have done both), the more ineffective and spineless you are the more likely you are to be able to get to middle management. Management by spreadsheet is one aspect that produces some plainly laughable results where for example a Sales Team that had done 250% of Annual quota got put into the "Resource Optimisation Unit" effectively for over performing. By contrast, the highest paid Sales person 4 years or so ago was a Client Director who actually lost the Network in a very large High Street Bank. Go figure.

I was told on the first day of my induction that BT had removed 150,000 staff with no Industrial relations incidents and could also lose another 40,000 without noticing they had gone (taking them to around 65,000 UK Staff). What has not been pointed out on this discussion is how many people at BT actually have two incomes making their focus even more vague. I know people who have literally gone AWOL at BT for a year and no-one batted an eyelid. Go figure.

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IT Angle

"not obligated to bail out the BT pension fund"

Does the "Pension Protection Fund" mean anything to you?

UK law now says that if a pension fund goes bust, in most circumstances there is a substantial chance that other pension funds, or ultimately the taxpayer, will pick up the bill, and that the pensioners will not be left high and dry through no fault of their own.

Woolworths and Nortel UK's pension funds are going through this process at the moment.

http://www.pensionprotectionfund.org.uk/

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Happy

AC@09:20, @Tony Paulazzo

AC@09:20

It seems the key phrases are ""qualifying insolvency event " and "is eligible for the Pension Protection Fund"

The insolvency refers to the *company*, not the pension scheme.

So it's not *just* BT as such. It's *any* company with a *qualifying* pension scheme which goes down the pan, and which as eligible schemes are part funding the compensation pot. While 3 of its 4 divisions are still making shed loads of cash I think we're a fair way off from this prospect. Indeed the obvious (but probably impossible) course is to sell off Global Services.

I was aware *something* had been put in place. IIRC it was following the outcry over a Welsh mfg company that failed and either had nothing in the pension scheme or it was confiscated by the liquidators. The tone of the original comment suggest BT would be a special case. I see this is not the case. Most educational. Thank you for the reference.

@Tony Paulazzo

"Instead of exhorting folks to leave (the company or the country), we should be fighting (in a passive and non aggressive way), for our rights. A 15% drop in BT's retail customers is nothing, but 15% of BT's customers taking them to court is (reported) news."

Not with BT but I like your approach. The bottom line is that if Phorm hurts their revenue more than helps it they have no logical reason to retain it. This should prod BT in just the right way.

Your right in the long run if people do not make a stand there will simply be no where left to run to.

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n
Unhappy

here we go again....taxpayers of britain bend over.

Get ready for the BT bail out......

"securing the network for national security"...."Chinese hackers"...."7/7"...."blah...blah...blah"...

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@John Smith: Welsh mfg company = AS+W

That'll be Allied Steel and Wire. Thank you for reading, and apologies for my slightly loose thinking/tryping owing to being in a rush during tea break.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-431420/UK-pension-protection-inadequate.html

Those moaning above about the unions should note that the PPF wouldn't exist if it weren't for the unions (and also the EU). Tools out, everybody down.

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Oh Yes They Are!!

Regarding the discussion as to whether the taxpayer will have to bail out the BT Pension should BT go tits up. When BT was privatised the government gave a "crown guarantee'' to the existing workers - underwriting their index-linked, final salary based pensions. Here's an old link about it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/3368069/BT-pension-deficit-soars-by-5bn.html

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Anonymous Coward

Telephone systems

I thought they run themselves nowadays.

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Stop

BT won't be calling in the receivers just yet

Operating profits

BT Retail £1227m, BT Wholesale £586m, BT Openreach £1247m BT Global Services

-£2041m

I'm no accountant but it looks like BT will have to go a *very* long way down to start worrying about the bailiffs just yet.

IIRC Global Services is the bit that does tries to operate abroad as well. It would appear that BT works best when its running an effective monopoly, which may or may not be being effectively regulated.

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Tom
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Sad for the workforce, but stuff BT.

I empathise with any person who finds themselves out of a job. In this case these people are going to be out of work because of the bumbling disorganisation of the way BT has been run.

That said, I wouldn't lose any sleep, in fact I'd probably go to sleep a huge smile if BT went under, they're one of the companies that deserve too.

I left BT due to the factors of:

*** of BT testing Phorm on my connection without my explicit permission.

*** I objected to my credit card details being taken by a person over the telephone who was not resident in the UK.

*** The fact that I can save £10.00 per month on rental charges by switching provider and in doing have also reduced my telephone bill by upto 85% per month.

BT is no longer the once Flagship of a British company, and therefore, it's time the government took the exchanges out of the hands of BT and created an independent company, similar to that of Transco and the National Grid. Thus, allowing better opportunity to choose one's telephone supplier and broadband supplier, instead of BT having a monopoloy over the telephone lines and exhanges.

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@Tom

"similar to that of Transco and the National Grid. "

I think you'll fnd National Grid (running the electricity backbone of the UK) is now *part* of Transco, a division of Centrica.

But I think you're right. Splitting out long haul infrastructure or ideally a separate company (which National Grid was) does seem to focus investment and give a more level playing field. However this seems to have happened with BT, sort of. I know Wholesale supplies bulk services but is it Openreach that allows other suppliers usage of the local exchange?

Profit wise both of these areas seem to be doing well. The bottom line is historically BT laid a hell of a lot of cable to nearly every house in the land. AFAIK the last outfits to lay *independant* cable was the cable TV companies and it seems Virgin is only now putting in more, after about 8 years. While companies use BT cabling to take customer business off BT and BT exchange space to hold the kit they are going to use to make money off of it they should not expect to get that for free. How much they are *charged* however should be regulated.

Contrast this with the water companies. You cannot change supplier, no effective national transport and no seperation of the big long pipes from the local infrastructure. So you get Thames Water, who manage to leak as much water per day per household as they actually sell to a household. It seems BT are somewhere between the water companies level of "service" and the gas and electricity companies. How to move them to the gas/electricity level, rather than having them sink down down to the water companies, is tricky.

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