Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Posts Tagged ‘Flexible resourcing

Job cuts in BT

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BT has this morning published its preliminary full year accounts for 2008-2009. You can access its own Press Release here and comment at the usual range of newspapers – e.g. The Guardian or The Times.

Media comment has evidently focused on the 15,000 job losses that the company is likely to make over the next twelve months in its global workforce – an understandable media comment in the face of rising unemployment and recession. BT has its own reasons for being seen to do something about its results – which were very bad indeed – and jobs are often, in such a situation, the first port of call in any cost cutting exercise.

At the same time, this is likely to be a worrying time for many of our members and Connect has issued guidance (members only; log in required) to its reps on the job cuts programme. BT’s programme does appear to be a step-up from the 10,000 reductions that the company announced in November last year would have occurred by the end of this last financial year, even if the company is claiming that 15,000 posts actually disappeared in 2008-09 (divided between 5,000 full-time posts and 10,000 agency staff or third party contractors). So, in practice, it may not be – although the past year has been a tough one for our members not least concerning the application of the performance management process.

The main points to note about BT’s job cuts programme would, from our point of view, seem to be these:

– the cuts will not all occur in the UK: the 15,000 reduction is in its 160,000-strong global workforce of whom less than 90,000 work in the UK

– the company will step up controls on recruitment and on third party labour

– there will be a focus on flexible resourcing solutions, including external secondments and voluntary hours reductions

– redeployment and re-skilling remains a key focus.

Connect will continue to press for all reductions to be made on a voluntary basis and for the company to stand by its commitment to preserving jobs for permanent employees: job security will remain a key concern.

At the same time, it is also evident that agency staff and contractors cannot bear the brunt of this sort of programme into the future: temporary staff account for around one-third of BT’s staff (source: Lex column for the Financial Times; subscription required) and, if they take the same share of the 15,000 job losses anticipated this year, they will soon be down to one-quarter.

We believe that, despite the evident and temporary problems in one of its business units, the company as a whole remains profitable, successful and with positive prospects for the future.

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Written by Calvin

14/05/2009 at 11:28 am