Redundancies will be last resort for BT cuts

BT will only consider redundancies as a last resort when making the 2,200
call centre job cuts it announced last week.

Caroline Waters, head of em-ployment policy, exclusively told Personnel
Today that the telecoms giant will try to relocate and redeploy as many staff
as possible.

The company is spending £100m on creating 30 new customer contact centres,
but this means 53 of its existing call centres will be closed over the next two
years.

The closures will start in October but eight in remote areas will be kept
open for a further four years.

Commenting on HR’s role in the change process, Waters said: "It is
business as usual for BT. Over the last 15 years we have reduced our staff
levels from a quarter of a million to just over 100,000 without any strike
action. We are good at the process."

The Communication Workers Union doubts whether BT can offer reasonable
alternative job opportunities in the sites it has chosen to close.

The union’s deputy general secretary, Jeannie Drake, said: "We want
guarantees that BT will provide alternative comparable job opportunities. We
believe the company has obligations to its people which it cannot ignore."

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