back to article There will be blood: BT to axe 13,000 employees

Former state monopoly BT is to chop 13,000 jobs over the next three years and will shutter its current London HQ under plans to wring out £1.5bn in costs and boost its flagging share price. The roles earmarked for redundancy are mainly in the back office and middle management, but BT did not specify which areas of the business …

  1. Craigie Bronze badge

    106,000??

    What on earth do these 100,000+ people currently do?? That seems an awful lot just to provide crap phone and 'broadband' services?

    1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
      Joke

      Re: 106,000??

      Holes in the ground won't stare at themselves you know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 106,000??

        Judging by the ex-BT people I've met, a lot of people in BT seem to have been brainwashed into revelling in the necessity to fill in paperwork in quadruplicate and holding up any semblance of innovation. Planning to get things done is the BT way without ever actually getting anything done in any shape or form whatsoever!

      2. fobobob

        Re: 106,000??

        "Holes in the ground won't stare at themselves you know."

        Actually, if you carefully position a mirror above them...

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: 106,000??

      There used to be about 30 people on the phones to answer calls to the Big Ban's office.

      But some in London must be like me - constantly shoved from one building to the next as inter departmental wars were fought for budgets and control of tech.

      I ended up being told I was now a Broadband Helldesk bod --which, at the time meant fielding calls from irate customers of OTHER providers who had found a 'modem' in a box of cornflakes (standard issue, cheap and shite while the Tadpole just worked).

      The job was dealing with other companies not even looking at work and marking them 'BT Fault' then dumping them in in our work queues.

      Oh Talk_talk you may have changed your name but NEVER your practices and as for Virigin --- standard Branson promises of Unicorn poo that was never delivered.

      At least I had several years of working in some of the best touristy bits of London.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: 106,000??

        "Oh Talk_talk you may have changed your name but NEVER your practices and as for Virigin --- standard Branson promises of Unicorn poo that was never delivered."

        The name Virgin Media is licenced from Branson. The real owner is Liberty Global (or whatever they call themselves now).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 106,000??

          Last meeting i had with my BT account manager he brought 6 extra warm bodies to the meeting, who all purported to be experts in something or other (mostly waffle).

          Room Meat is a telling sign of middle management bloat.

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: 106,000??

          Had to check the gargler... turns out stalkstalk used to be that outfit called 'two-can telecon'

          Always thought the name was appropriate

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 106,000??

      "What on earth do these 100,000+ (BT) people currently do?"

      {Start of Rant}

      Tell you (along with their narcissistic fcuk buddy Ofcom) how wonderful 'up to' obfuscated legacy copper carcass FTTC {shitty-mediocre} Broadband is.

      But odd how narcissistic Ofcom fail to tell consumers the truth...

      If their line is 500m (250m as the crow flies) from any BT FTTC equipment, they don't have a hope of hell of getting anything better in the next 10 years than what they have currently (from BT), without a massive network upgrade to full fibre, because pointless G.fast is just not cost effective deployed at the 'Pole'.

      BT spend vast amounts, paying these people to pontificate or bounce complaints between Ofcom/BT/Ombudsman Services (you could probably add bribery {aka. lobbying} to that, if you looked hard enough - looking at the Italian scandal, aswell as place key people in key regulatory Ofcom jobs) , while effectively sitting on their hands acting like the drunk blocking the pub doorway, waiting for further Government handouts, making sure no one can get to the bar to order their 'full fibre' drinks.

      BT get handouts enough because they get most of the big Government contracts, which allows them to piggyback their own investments off the back of those large public sector investments, to effectively 'own' the network.

      In the meantime (Ofcom's latest decision) BT "Landline only*" customers (who never make a call) pay £8 more a month to BT for having third party/Virgin Media Broadband.

      What sort of fcuked up regulatory decision is that allowing BT Retail to access (what is) confidential information regards what services are delivered by Openreach?

      *BT/Ofcom do a nice little deal so they fail to mention "Landline only" doesn't actually mean BT landline only customers, in the normal sense of the term.

      {End of Rant}

      1. gbru2606

        Re: 106,000??

        Not to forget that many of their engineers were trained for "free" (taxpayer funded) by the army.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They'll be a few thousand BT Van effigies burnt this November, no doubt...

      And not just because of 'up to' 1-2Mbps over 2km+ unreliable copper broadband lines, in areas that are deceptively labelled "Fibre enabled".

      (There is a vindictive streak in me imagining some of the older BT senior management attempting to apply for new jobs online {the modern way} via their previously unused home BT broadband 1-2Mbps connection, with the senior management that survive eventually getting relocated to Swansea's BT Tower)

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: They'll be a few thousand BT Van effigies burnt this November, no doubt...

        with the senior management that survive eventually getting relocated to Swansea's BT Tower

        Why reward them?

    5. Slx

      Re: 106,000??

      If it's anything like what has happened with Eir (formerly Eircom, formerly Telecom Éireann) in Ireland, they'll outsource everything for "flexibility" i.e. very few people will have real jobs.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What 13000 disgruntled ex-BT workers should do?

      Help the full fibre 1Gbps B4RN model become an established alternative to BT across the UK, in any way they can.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Ouch.

    Condolences to the to-be-laid-off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well hopefully alot of it comes from Global Services, that division has been under-performing for years, so it's time it took a good kicking in return.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        1/3 apparently

      2. Anonymous Coward
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Advertised as 'up to' 13000 jobs...

      By BT Broadband standards that will surely mean 1000-2000 jobs at most.

  3. Portent

    No people skills whatsovever

    ' Speaking of the latest job-shedding, chief exec Gavin Patterson, said: “I am really excited to be delivering the next stage of BT’s transformation and have put in place the team that will support me in achieving these objectives.” '

    --- This shows a complete lack of people skills and empathy at the affect his decision will have on thousands of lives. It's a completely inappropriate comment. What a ******.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      Being a sociopath is a prerequisite for a CEO, didn't you know?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. 0laf Silver badge

          Re: No people skills whatsovever

          Snakes in Suits is a book worth reading.

      2. alpine

        Re: No people skills whatsovever

        Being a football fan is also a prerequisite if you have customer's and shareholder's cash to dispose of.

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      It's been over 10 years since I took the money and legged it.

      ten years before that the top levels were saying EXACTLY the same shite

      SNAFU

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No people skills whatsovever

        4 years for me and I was there for 6 before that.

        GS used to be touted as the growth engine of the business, they hired loads of people, bought a load of other businesses to bolster it and then sold some huge loss making contracts which all became very public around 2008.

        Since then they've been cutting costs and aggressively managing people out of the business without any intention at any time of actually turning GS into a worthwhile division, they would have dumped it long ago if they could, it's just so hairy that no-one else wants it so all they can do is continue to shrink it in order to reduce the size of the problem.

        It's a horrible place to be and I feel very sorry for all of my ex-colleagues who still have to suffer there every day.

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      What do you expect from a bloke with a haircut like that?

      The curious thing is that Hairboy Patterson has been at the helm for five years now, and he's only just come to the conclusion that the business was carrying 13,000 apparently superfluous middle managers. I presume (from seeing this done from the inside of other organisations) that the number was plucked from the well padded arse of an expensive management consultancy, because that's what dick-brain CEOs rely on for any decision more complex than "do I need to go to the toilet?"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No people skills whatsovever

        "because that's what dick-brain CEOs rely on for any decision more complex than "do I need to go to the toilet?"

        They have PA's for those minor decisions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No people skills whatsovever

          "They have PA's for those minor decisions."

          Knowing a fair few PA's I can safely say they are the ones that run the place. If half these directors had to fend for themselves, they would crash and burn by about 10am on the first Monday morning. That's provided they managed to get in because they forgot they needed to get petrol on the way home.

    4. HmmmYes Silver badge

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      He should be off as well.

      BT has have gone from ne gormless copycat strategy to another -

      'Lets be consultants! GDS or whatever, Massive fuck up/fraud.

      Lets be Sky, Massive footie bill.

      Why not - Lets be a good cheap telecoms company.

      Id guess the 16,000 are the arse end of the civil service like BT. Management trainees from pre-1984.

      1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: No people skills whatsovever

        >>Lets be Sky, Massive footie bill.

        Exactly that, I dumped BT when they spent all that money on football. WTF should I pay more for my phone line when I have no interest whatsoever in football.

        As a rather lame sort of protest I avoid clicking on any BT website "news" stories.

    5. Matt Ryan

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      Knew Gavin when I worked at Telewest - must be the looks that got him to the top of BT 'cos it ain't the brains.

    6. LimpedIn

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      Having worked for large organisations like this before, it never ceases to astound me what utter ar$£holes manage to elevate themselves to such positions. They skim along at the top of the organisation, raking in a huge wad and never daring to look down at the great unwashed shovelling the $h!t to keep them in their job.

      They then rip an organisation apart making mass redundancies and telling people "how exciting" the future is and then head off into the sunset in their chauffeur-driven Bently, to be congratulated by their flunkies.

      BT is reknowned for its appalling customer service, the inability of any of the individual organisations within it (Openreach, BT Business, BT Residential, etc.) to communicate (ironically) or accept responsibility for anything.

      How appropriate for such a shambles to be heading for an "exciting" future under the leadership of such a $h1t!!

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: No people skills whatsovever

        @LimpedIn

        If you think BT's got shite customer service, try "ITalk UK"... they don't even answer the damn phones when you try to report a line fault. Switching back to BT asap.

        BT Retail are actually the biggest cashcow for the corporation (not openreach). They're the ones that could in theory, charge enormous rent for rival companies in their exchanges.

    7. Lomax

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      It's the Asshole Effect in action:

      https://www.alternet.org/culture/ahole-effect-what-wealth-does-brain

    8. Chris 3

      Re: No people skills whatsovever

      I suspect El Reg mischievously took that quote from part of the press release and grafted the 'speaking of job cuts' bit so that we would all grab our pitchforks.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The sales drop was "due to ongoing challenging market conditions and a reduction in IP Exchange volumes and equipment sales in line with our strategy to reduce low margin business," the company said.

    yeah... nothing to do with having an out dated business model of screw everyone we can.

    I've spent the last few years ripping out legacy BT systems from independent shops in south england, some of the contract terms and account managers i've seen and dealt with are jaw dropping.

    One shop was paying nearly 45k a year to BT for a service they didn't even use but were told they couldn't cancel without heavy penalty. new voip and internet contract comes in at least than 3k a year.

    BT are getting a taste of what they have deserved for decades.

    1. ds6 Bronze badge

      There is NO WAY that price is legit... That's on the level of armed robbery. My condolences to any business nabbed by BT's maw.

      But more importantly, is the reason they are getting so antsy to lay off employees (regardless of if they need them or not) because they are finally bleedong the rock dry and need to preemptively recoup losses that will occur later over these lost contracts? They already make billions in revenue, so it's not like they're too bad off, yet.

  5. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    BT's London HQ

    Interesting bit of trivia about BT's current-but-about-to-be-former office near St Paul's - it's the location from where wireless signals were first publicly transmitted by Marconi. I remember spotting the blue plaque when passing a while back.

    (One day you''ll be in a pub quiz and thank me for stuff like this)

  6. zaax

    It took Openreach 8 days to repair my line, which UK power networks broke (a public sewer problem last year was sorted with-in 2 hours).

    1. Adrian Harvey
      Trollface

      What exactly are you downloading to make your line equivalent to a public sewer?

      Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        they apparently were trying to dump a log.

        1. ds6 Bronze badge

          Was the log chunked or compressed? That can help clear the pipes, but you have to get your hands dirty.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        What exactly are you downloading to make your line equivalent to a public sewer?

        BT's annual report maybe?

    2. meadowlark

      Do you remember when BT was privatised and then Norman Tebbit got himself a job on the board ? A year or so later, he was boasting that when BT was a civil service department, it took longer than 6 weeks to have a phone installed whereas now it was 2 days.

      This wasn't true but what he didn't say was that before privatisation, it only took 2 days to get your phone fixed when it went out of order !

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A nice easy way to reduce your pension costs, make redundant, rename role, reemploy. Cynical? Moi?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am really excited

    what a (...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what a (...)

      three nippled tit?

  9. Ptol

    if you think they are bad now...

    wait till all the good employable staff have found new jobs, and only the runts of the litter are left... Isnt that what happens with most corporate resizing strategies, who 6 months later realise that the staff they shed were the ones actually doing the work?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: if you think they are bad now...

        Can something be 'rather moot'?

        1. 0laf Silver badge

          Re: if you think they are bad now...

          It's a moot point

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: if you think they are bad now...

          Don't see why not. Usually meaning is 'subject to debate', a moot being an assembly. A term generally out of fashion, but still occasionally heard. I remember attending a "Ley-hunters Annual Moot" in Lewes many years ago. (Don't ask....but the highlight was a talk by Michael Bentine!)

  10. KBeee
    Meh

    I wonder how much that block they own by St. Pauls is worth. Or do they actually own it?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      A Fitting AI Tribute to a Sterling Stirling Asset

      Is it Monumental to BT? ...... The Point at the Beginning of Future TelePathic Communications? The Hub from Which All Spread with News and Views Shared Better ..... For Parallel Visions to Binocular Lengths Ahead?

      Or is that Application more likely to be of Vital Interest to a GCHQ type Operating System. which always seems to be fighting Brush Bush fires.

      It is Almighty Hard to Unhand the Reins of COSMIC Power when a Great President has still so much more to Provide and Spill upon the AI rWaves. But Time Moves Everything On, not ACTioNs in Spaces or Places ........ They are the Magic Play Ground where Life and Lives in Live Operational Virtual Environments are Realisable and when Positively Creative, So Created. Supportive Reinforcement of the See Scapes available, permits remits which simply driver markets actuators to do their thing, only better .... to Sterling Stirling Asset Standards

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like most of London, they most likely own the building, but not the land.

      Source: Just guessing, like all good internet sourced facts.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm guessing they flogged it off years ago to rent it back from Monterrey -at least that's what they did with all the other BT buildings to get out of the shit when the dot com bubble burst.

      1. Gommster

        you mean Telereal ? - probably as they acquired about 90% of BTs buildings in order to service some of the 3G debt.

    4. The Boojum

      Read the figure of £200m somewhere.

  11. T0G

    Instead of laying these people off they should be retrained to replace the non-existent customer support management. The people who can direct you to the right place for support, the people who talk to each other and share data, that sort of stuff that BT doesn't bother with. Which is probably why they haven't signed up to the Ombudsman service...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        British Disease

        "It seems to be a British disease - management are held in higher esteem than those that actually know what they are doing, and actively denigrate engineers" -- AC

        It's the class system. Whilst managers will (grudgingly) accept contractors who earn more than they, no permanent member of their team should ever approach their salary.

        The corollary is that the only way to get increasingly well paid in IT is to steadily become more of a manager and less of a technician - or to become a contractor.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: British Disease

          It's the class system. Whilst managers will (grudgingly) accept contractors who earn more than they, no permanent member of their team should ever approach their salary.

          That's not a class system, its simply stupidity by both managers and HR, neither of whom can conceive that "management" is a necessary evil, but accepting that should not mean that pay levels should correlate with organisational "seniority". You do need a gradient, (otherwise nobody would want to be promoted and you'd have no management), but typically it is too steep, and is absolute. I can think of many instances where a manager was entirely competent at their job, but added less value to the business than some of their direct reports, who should have been paid more. This is what creates the crap idea that employees have to aspire to manage at increasing levels to earn more, rather than accepting that some (even many) are not interested or perhaps suited to management roles, but contribute handsomely to the business doing what they do best (and often increasingly so as their experience increases).

          Sadly, all large corporates are run by PHBs, so this will never change.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It seems to be a British disease - management are held in higher esteem than those that actually know what they are doing, and actively denigrate engineers. It will never change as the senior managers got there by being "managers" - to the detriment of knowledgeable people."

        Anyone who is an engineer in the formal sense will be in a management grade. Senior engineers in senior management grades.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        speaking as a former 'middle manager' in BT

        It's quite a misused term. eg. I led a team of highly skilled IT designers. I lost my job in the last round of cuts. All my people were also counted as middle managers in the weird BT job families- despite most of them never having line managed anyone. Speaking to former colleagues yesterday; their jobs are under threat. These 'middle managers' typically have top notch external accreditations.

        I was eased out via a 'carpark conversation' with a senior manager: "You'd be much happier if you left tomorrow with 12 months salary your bank account". Of course it being BT it took months to actually get the money and it was wrong a couple of times too.

        For me, the bureaucracy came from the top down; senior managers walling off their empires; and conducting manoeuvres for land grabs of other people's. When I left there will still over a thousand people with 'Director' in their job title. When I worked in Global Services the ratio of project managers to engineers was 2:1. You can guess which group us got axed in the 2010 cull.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Trollface

        It seems to be a British disease - management are held in higher esteem than those that actually know what they are doing, and actively denigrate engineers. It will never change as the senior managers got there by being "managers" - to the detriment of knowledgeable people.

        Of course, all that will change for the better when we leave the EU! </sarcasm>

  12. CJatCTi

    They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

    The market is moving to VoIP, so bussness & residental only need an Internet connection - 1 per customer. No switching voice at the exchanges, no income from phone calls, so they need less people.

    But you can garentee the ones that go will be the ones who know how things work & how to get things done.

    1. HmmmYes Silver badge

      Re: They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

      'The market is moving to VoIP, so bussness & residental only need an Internet connection - 1 per customer.'

      hahahahahahahaha.

      Have you tried managing a large scale IP network, running different services?

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

        Or running a site without a backup line for that matter?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

        "'The market is moving to VoIP, so bussness & residental only need an Internet connection - 1 per customer.'"

        As opposed to a separate cable for phone and internet?????

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

      a) there's already one connection into the home

      b) while the PSTN will fall and a BT VoIP platform finally takes its place (they tried to do this 10 years ago mind), businesses will still want fat trunks for their calls - and that's long been a competitive business, including VoIP services from BT, so those that are with BT are through choice and not necessity.

      c) I would bet money on BT remaining a massive player in voice - it'll be BT's VoIP platform that underpins UK telephony instead of BT's PSTN. BTGS is a bit of a money pit but one of their more successful products is the Global IP Exchange - what that does is self explanatory.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They are getting out of PSTN - so they don't need so many people

        "I would bet money on BT remaining a massive player in voice"

        I might too, but only because BT will likely remain the default provider of phone, data, TV, and other content services to the naive and ill-informed at home and in business. Anyone with a clue knows that BT are an awful company to deal with (as supplier, customer, sharp end employee, etc).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn in hell!

    They should axe all 106,000 staff and have done with it. The sooner BT burns in hell the better.

    1. tip pc

      Re: Burn in hell!

      you don't realise how much the other ISP's rely on BT for things to magically work. No BT No VM, no Vodafone, no Sky. They are all interrelated via contracts here there and everywhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Burn in hell!

        I absolutely do realise. They can still burn in hell.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Burn in hell!

          The point is... If VM, Sky, Vodafone etc can't exist without BT then they are simply a privately controlled monopoly instead of a state monopoly and it means the bullshit about competition being good is just that. Bullshit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Burn in hell!

            Or the others could invest in their own infrastructure, but you know that costs money...a LOT of money. Much easier to offer a shit service for 99p a month.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Burn in hell!

              Outside the 18-month contract headline offers, BT Line Rental and 52Mbps FTTC fibre 'combo' comes in at close to £50 a month, before calls, plus a potential "pure profit" of £20.85 a month in additional services, 1571, CallerID, Nuisance blocking etc.

              International calls are extortionate. Calls to Australia cost £1.02 per minute for the first minute, £0.80 per minute each additional minute.

              It's hardly 99p a month.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Burn in hell!

                Worth pointing out that caller ID, 1571 and nuisance call blocking are either free for everyone or free while in contract.

                I can't think of a single landline provider, including those that do not use BT infrastructure, who has sensible international call costs (not without paying for an addon). They're a similar rip off on mobiles too, again, unless you pay for an addon. Most people would find a dialthrough number or just use Skype, Facetime or Whatsapp anyway.

                BT's customer service leaves a lot to be desired but on a technical level it seems to work quite well - especially since they're now in a sadly very exclusive club of UK ISPs that offer IPv6 to bog standard broadband users.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Burn in hell!

                  Caller display, 1571 (nuisance blocking is part of 1571 though) are not free. BT Privacy with Caller Display costs £1.75 a month (previously free if you made x calls per quarter).

                  BT Privacy is only free if you take out a new 12 month line rental contract

                  Broadband choices lists the charges as follows:

                  1471 FREE

                  Anonymous caller reject £6.30 per month

                  Answer 1571 £2.50 per month (BT now lists this a £3.00 per month)

                  Call Minder £5.00 per month

                  Caller display £1.75 per month

                  Choose to refuse £5.30 per month

                  Withhold number FREE

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Burn in hell!

                    The basic 1571 service is free if you basically use your landline at all (logically, if you never use it, why would you need voicemail anyway?). The nuisance calling feature I am referring to - "call protect" - is free though you can pay for greater control. Caller ID is free if in contract, as I said before.

                    http://www.bt.co.uk/pricing/notifs/18-06-2010/Call_Charges_boo/NotificationPeriodImpl5631911101_d0e3320.htm - try looking at the definitive price list and not some "broadband choices" nonsense.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The definition of insanity

    Is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting something to change.

    As Elmer said, this is exactly the same message that BT was pushing fifteen years ago, when they announced that they were shifting to a more "agile" way of working and started flogging off any building which wasn't (metaphorically) nailed to the ground, under some bizarre sell-and-rent-back scheme.

    In fact, the quote on the BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44065422) looks like it was simply dug out of a cupboard and dusted off:

    "It is critical that BT transforms its operating model to build a lean and agile organisation that delivers sustained improvement in customer experience and productivity"

    Either way, I'm very much not regretting moving on from there!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The definition of insanity

      "tarted flogging off any building which wasn't (metaphorically) nailed to the ground, under some bizarre sell-and-rent-back scheme."

      Yes, that really is bizarre. Didn't some rich industrialist one say "if it appreciates in value, buy it, if it depreciates in value, rent it." Property invariably appreciate in value so selling off your buildings and renting them bark is barking mad unless you are desperate for short term cash and have failed at every other option to raise some.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: The definition of insanity

        so selling off your buildings and renting them bark is barking mad

        It was the Done Thing for a while in uber-capitalist circles. Something to do with propping up share prices by extracting value from existing assets in order to pay dividends.

        And, like all such short-term measures is utter, utter futile madness in a long-term view.

        Sadly, CEOs and Boards are now not selected for the long-term view - they are selected to 'maximise shareholder value' in the short term. Then, when the company involved get into financial difficulty[1], said CEO and Board regretfully leave with their diamond-studden golden parachutes.

        [1] Which they inevitably do. Like the "buy the company with debt raised against the company assets" that became popular in the early 2000's and directly lead to the collapse of a number of large companies when their market share declined and they could no longer service the debt incurred in buying themselves. As happened with Toys 'R Us.. (and nearly has happened with Dell).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The definition of insanity

        It's worth bearing in mind that this was in the aftermath of the dotcom collapse, when BT's share price dropped from ~£10 to the £2-£3 level (and where it's languished ever since). From a beancounter perspective, drastic measures were needed, and the property portfolio was an easy target.

        Then too, presumably, part of the calculation was based around the fact that they were reducing headcount at the same time, so fewer buildings were needed and they could let the leases lapse. Back in the late noughties, the building I was working in had an entire floor mothballed, while the local BT building was even emptier; it's since been sold off altogether and turned into student accommodation.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: The definition of insanity

      "It is critical that BT transforms its operating model to build a lean and agile organisation that delivers sustained improvement in customer experience and productivity"

      Ah, did someone find a pile of 'Total Quality Management' training books left over from the '80s? Or around the time when BT was convincing all it's L1+ managers that the most important issue was not entitlement to a personal coat stand as an L3, but agreeing to a 1 year contract! Suprisingly some managers thought that was a great idea and they'd still have jobs for life, much as their fathers and grandfathers before them.

      Unsuprisingly, many of those managers are probably still there having refined their axe dodging skills.

  15. adam payne Silver badge

    Speaking of the latest job-shedding, chief exec Gavin Patterson, said: “I am really excited to be delivering the next stage of BT’s transformation and have put in place the team that will support me in achieving these objectives.”

    You might be excited but I bet the thousands of people being given the axe aren't excited about it.

    The statement is completely inappropriate.

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Dreadful. Straight out of the David Brent Book of Management.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M16QSsOggY

  16. 0laf Silver badge

    Look back the BBC news, same shite, same platitudes just from BT never mind other large businesses going back to 2000 and beyond.

    Do they teach these crap PR announcements at MBA school?

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Digging Deeper ......

    However, BT will borrow £2bn by issuing bonds and pay it straight into the pension deficit. The bonds will be acquired by the pension scheme itself. An earlier plan to pledge network assets to trustees to reduce the need for more cash was abandoned. ..... https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/05/10/bt-axe-13000-jobs-quit-london-hq-cost-cutting-drive/

    Hmmm? Is that not a perfect enough copy of a Ponzi scheme activity and usually criminal?

    And is it also wilfully trading whilst bankrupt, both of which can be costly to the fine tune of billions?

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Digging Deeper ......

      No it’s nothing remotely like a ponzi scheme. Huh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not a ponzi scheme

        Not a ponzi scheme by the usual definition of the term, perhaps. Maybe "find the lady" would be a better comparison? Or some other class of illusion/delusion?

        BTplc owes BTpensionfund loadsamoney (£billions of contractually binding deferred wages),

        Despite this longstanding debt owed ultimately from BTplc to its employees pension fund showing little sign of a realistic recovery plan, the BTpensionfund management hand BTplc £2bn of allegedly real (employees deferred wages) money, in exchange for promises of 'jam tomorrow'.

        The effect of this transaction, to my simple way of thinking, seems to be the following:

        (a) increase the pension deficit by £2BN (because £2BN has left the pension fund bank account)

        (b) faciitate the printing some magical monopoly money which is printed in the apparent form of BTplc bonds which anyone with a clue (apparently except the pension fund management?) knows are likely to be useless in due course.

        (c) the BTpensionfund management say "yes, your £2B of lovely bonds look like an excellent deal in return for £2B of real money. Thank you so much. Your lovely bonds aren't vaporware at all."

        (d) profit - but where, and for who?

        When BTplc inevitably goes bust, which is the only foreseeable result of BT's years of board level incompetence, where will the missing £2BN pension fund money be? It won't be heading for the ex-employees retirement accounts, you can be sure of that.

        To summarise: Another huge wodge of real money (deferred wages) disappears from the BT pension fund into the grubby hands of the City moneychangers, and the City's bogus bonus pots, never to be seen again (not as deferred wages for the employees anyway).

        Meanwhile the pension fund managers can say "I have in my hand a piece of paper" (the bond/monopoly money paper). A piece of paper which will likely be about as much use as Prime Minister Chamberlain's infamous piece of paper was.

        The official verbage (as reported by the Telegraph):

        "The triennial review of BT’s pension scheme, the largest private scheme in Britain, found that the funding shortfall increased from £7bn to £11.3bn as interest rates remained historically low.

        Trustees agreed to keep the draw on BT’s cash at its previously agreed level for the next three years but it faces an increase from 2020 to £900m a year with the aim of closing the deficit by 2030. That compares with the previously planned maximum of £724m.

        BT will also borrow £2bn by issuing bonds and pay it straight into the pension deficit. The bonds will be bought by the pension scheme itself."

        from

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/05/10/bt-axe-13000-jobs-quit-london-hq-cost-cutting-drive/

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The obvious maths...

    Cut heads in Global Services by 4000 last year.

    This year - revenue down in Global Services... MUST be their fault.

    1. tip pc

      Re: The obvious maths...

      yup, work harder not smarter.

  19. My Alter Ego

    Hope BT Local Business are getting canned

    While I empathise for anyone losing their jobs, I truly hope the Local Business (LB) are going to removed from the face of the earth. They have been the cause of every problem we've ever had:

    1. LB insisted we change the name on the account from the director's name to the company name. When we did the LB sales droid cancelled out account and recreated it, most likely to get his grubby little hands on commission for a "new" contract. Result - ISDN 30 down for 36 hours.

    2. Renewed contract early, LB sales droid couldn't do his job properly so we got billed £4,700 for "leaving our contract early". Result - out of pocket for two months.

    3. Signed contract to upgrade to flex-up a leased line and add resilient fibre. Contract was subject to us accepting any excess construction charges (which LB insisted wouldn't be an issue, something we didn't believe but thought it's worth a shot). When quoted £40,000 + VAT we declined. So they charged us £5,000 for breaking our contract. Result - still out of pocket as it nobody knows how to rectify the screw up.

    4. Refuse to provide a SIP trunk. Apparently for legacy (or anything the don't support - Asterisk) they will only provide an ISDN gateway which, so we have to maintain a PRI for bugger all reason (Asterisk -> PRI -> BT ISDN Gateway -> BT SIP Trunk)

    BT know they have us by the balls, as we're too scared of reversing the Direct Debit because we know some over-zealous little shit will pull the cord, even though as billing dispute is in process.

    1. simpfeld

      Re: Hope BT Local Business are getting canned

      Couldn't agree more. If you don't know the horror of this, a BTLB is a third party company that BT outsource some of their business customers account management to.

      My experience is that they are really only interested in new sales (presumably all they get paid by BT for), so any issues with an existing contract (even a pretty hefty one) don't get actioned well. Seem keen to bug you for new work when the existing stuff isn't going well.

      Someone in BT probably got paid a pile of cash to think up this broken BTLB scheme.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hope BT Local Business are getting canned

      ". Refuse to provide a SIP trunk. Apparently for legacy (or anything the don't support - Asterisk) they will only provide an ISDN gateway which, so we have to maintain a PRI for bugger all reason (Asterisk -> PRI -> BT ISDN Gateway -> BT SIP Trunk)"

      We had similar with KPN in the Netherlands

      KPN SIP > KPN Converter > Audiocodes Mediant 2000 > Internal SIP.

      I was going to drop in a Brekeke SIP proxy to spoof the headers and just hook up to that, but we sold that division, so never needed to bother.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hope BT Local Business are getting canned

      I work for BT (not senior or middle management and I actually do something productive) and I'm disgusted by that part of the business operation.

      I can only echo your experience. My dad is a BT business customer. He moved premises (they were so close that they are served by the same cab). They could not have made a bigger mess of the move and the resulting months of billing issues.

      After emailing Gav P, a minion replied, someone who really typified the idea of "customer service" - absolutely fantastic, with a quick resolution and constant updates. Shame that BTLB is a million miles from that.

      He refuses to make any more changes to the account as he thinks it'll mess up the bill even more. Good for revenues!

  20. RobertLongshaft

    How much do they have to square away to keep Ofcom family members in jobs and certain political parties from breaking up this monopoly?

    BT should have been broken up years ago but its corruption keeps it strong.

  21. simpfeld

    Amazed BT are still in business

    To be honest I'm always amazed they are still in business at all. I mean I have dealt with some bad companies but BT take incompetence to new levels in my experience.

    I have taken 4 months to arrange a paid engineer visit to a site to do some work. On both occasions, despite checking that all was well the week before, they failed to attend the site as arranged. I have had contracts set up by a BTLB for these visits, with other parts of BT telling me these contracts "weren't going anywhere in BT" as they are wrong (what a thing to say to a paying customer, you guys sort it out between you).

    BT seem to have only a few people that will take ownership of problems but would rather pass you to the next call centre.

    The actual engineers we have seen have been very good (though near or past retirement age), you wonder if the recruitment drive is such a big deal as it looks like they need to replace *a lot* of ageing engineering staff. How many are new people adding to the pool?

    They obsess about EE and BT sport whilst being unable to get the basics right.

    I can understand domestic customers being lumbered or just having always been BT customers forever. But businesses, I can't understand why you would...Even for lines I'd rather get some other company to frontend Openreach and they can deal with BT.

  22. RancidRodent

    It could be worse...

    As bad as BT are - could you imagine the General Post Office being in charge as we went through the late nineties/early noughties internet era? "A phone in your hall sir? - I'll book you in for August... 2019 - if comrade Smith can be bothered to turn up."

  23. juice Bronze badge

    Do the numbers actually add up?

    I have to wonder how useful their headcount-reduction numbers are, especially if they're looking to recruit more front-line staff at the same time. Potentially, if they carry through with their plan to hire 9,500 front-liners, their headcount is only going to drop by around 3,500 in the next 3 years.

    Though this is likely to be scant consolation for the people being shown the door - and I'm guessing the newcomers will have lower wages and fewer financial benefits, to boot!

    Anyway, since I had some time waiting on a server rebuild, I did some poking around. An article on the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8049276.stm) from 2009 states that their headcount was 162,000 in 2008; they'd lopped 15k from this in 2009 and were looking to drop another 15k in 2010.

    However, according to BT's own annual reports[*], the employee headcount in 2009 was 110.6k and they actually /grew/ between 2007 and 2008.

    In fact, it looks like BT's headcounts can be roughly divided into 5-year epochs:

    1994: 156k employees

    1995 - 2001: ~ 130k employees

    2002 - 2007: ~ 105k employees

    2008 - 2010: ~ 110k employees

    2011 - 2016: ~ 90k employees

    2017: 106k employees

    I.e. they've had a couple of big bloodbaths in 1995, 2001 and 2011; the rest of the time, things are relatively stable - there's even the occasional uptick, presumably from acquisitions. E.g. in 2006, they picked up Plusnet, and in 2016, they picked up 12.8k employees from EE.

    Though that said, the 2017 annual report indicates that the EE headcount had already dropped to 9.2k, so I'd guess ex-EE staff make for a relatively easy target for any beancounter looking to trim things down.

    Equally, their 2017 annual report states that of their 106k employees, only 82,000 are in the UK. Given that the statement implies they're targeting UK staff, it'll be interesting[**] to see how well their processes handle a headcount reduction of ~15%, especially when they've been actively trimming headcount for the last 25 years; by now, they've long since stripped any fat and must be starting to catch the bone in places.

    [*] Annoyingly unstandardised, but a bit of digging eventually cleared things up somewhat

    [**] In the sense that a slow-motion car-crash is interesting, as long as you're not one of the people involved!

    1. ShortLegs

      Re: Do the numbers actually add up?

      Some of the variance between figures is due to using contractors.

      A BT site in Hampshire 'housed' around 1,000 people. However, the official headcount was 200 BT staff. The other 800 were contractors, and therefore not employees.

  24. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    just love the bit about pensions! the trustees have been well amd truly rolled.

  25. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Trollface

    WTF

    Factory Act established a 56-hour working week, and put a stop to children under 10 being used as chimney sweeps, and now BT has to lay off 13,000 wage slaves. I hope this socialist nonsensical law will be soon abolished!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “I am really excited to be making all these people redundant”. Nice sensitive turn of phrase there

  27. EastFinchleyite

    Be careful what you wish for (again)

    I worked for BT for 20 years, got to "middle management" and left in the mid 90s because I was sick of the stupid decisions being made by my bosses who were more interested in career progression and becoming a Direct Report of some senior manager than they were in doing the right thing. I am no fan but I am also a realist.

    Underlying the telecoms/data/broadband/mobile market for the last 30 years has been the assumption that, in the end, BT will pick up the tab. It is the provider with the Universal Service Obligation. When you don't have decent broadband in your Sussex village, it is BT's fault. When you go to TalkTalk etc and ask them why they can't provide decent service, it is because BT hasn't laid a fibre to the village so their competitor can use it. It is all BT's fault.

    After Thatcher's child Mercury failed to provide service to the residential market and concentrated on cherry picking big business, round two set up the cable TV companies. BT was not allowed to provide TV services. IIRC there were 96 Cable TV licenses issued. They all failed or were combined finally into Virgin. Be careful what you wish for......

    BT was not allowed to go into the mobile business directly, it had to set up a subsidiary with Securicor. which became Cellnet, which became O2. BT were forced to sell O2 to Telefonica. Be careful what you wish for...... Now they have bought EE. Round and round we go.

    While politicians and public still think that BT is a public service, it is actually focused on one thing; making a profit for its shareholders. It is slowly being broken up with the profitable bits favoured and the rest including the public service bits left to rot. Openreach has been separated but is still reliant on BT Corporate for investment. Wait a few years and that will change.

    It will not be long before there is no big BT to provide the infrastructure for all the other telecoms parasites and they will have to start digging their own holes and, more to the point, putting the money up front. Its called investment and its bad for business.

    And to all those people who don't live in the profitable high density areas of the country and who complain about bad service and lack on investment, be careful what you wish for..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be careful what you wish for (again)

      Agreed completely.

      I fear that Ofcom hasn't looked at history and all the other attempts to knobble BT and promote "competition". Not just the cable TV fiasco but mobile too - has it been good to have 5 radio networks? I can't see how - and neither can the mobile operators (five became four, and they've paired up to share costs)

      I can very much see the current Ofcom policy, which is to make it as difficult as possible for Openreach to do anything while believing that competition will provide, ending up in the same way. They'll all be fighting for pennies per user. Ironically, I can see Openreach coming out of this unscathed. They might fibre up the less desirable areas and cream off the profits while making losses in the cities

      Hyperoptic won't touch anywhere difficult - they prefer doing blocks of flats. B4RN is not scalable. Gigaclear has some rural experience - but just like Openreach's own FTTP, it's taxpayer funded, and they don't have poles or duct networks as Openreach (or the local electricity co) do. Cityfibre seem to be more interested in press releases.

      I'm reminded of Royal Mail and the EU-imposed "liberalisation". All that happened is that the "competitors" cherry picked the easy delivery zones and paid Royal Mail an unprofitable rate to do the rest. At least RM have been allowed to increase prices to match reality (and Ofcom hasn't yet forced them to give up parcel deliveries because it might be unfair for the couriers!)

      There are some reports that Ofcom might divvy up the country into franchises and give each provider exclusivity / funding in those areas. It's like the 80s all over again...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful what you wish for (again)

        All very good until you spoil it with "EU-imposed". While the EU provides a convenient hate figure for rabid nationalists all these liberalisations are coming down from the likes of the WTO, WMF etc. and they will continue to be forced upon us even after brexit.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019