More redundancies in Technology exacerbate deepening industrial relations crisis

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

More redundancies have just been announced  by BT Technology – three months into a bitterly disputed compulsory redundancy  situation that began in July  when the division announced 200 job losses under  ‘Phase 1’ of its ‘Transformation Programme’.

The ‘Phase 2’ job cuts bombshell , revealed by management this morning (Wednesday), comes as a consultative ballot on strike action over the ‘Phase 1’ job losses is underway in a last ditch bid to  prevent the first ever compulsory redundancies amongst team member grades in Technology becoming  effective on  October 31.

The result of that ballot will be announced tomorrow (Thursday) with the CWU hoping that an overwhelming demonstration of workforce fury at the way  ‘key workers’ colleagues who’ve worked through the pandemic to keep the country connected are being treated will shame management into an eleventh-hour rethink.

As things stand, dozens of team member grade employees earmarked for compulsory redundancy in ‘Phase 1’ will have Friday as their final day of service.

In an already febrile situation the CWU has lambasted management’s incendiary decision to place yet more employees at direct risk of compulsory redundancy when arguments are still raging about ‘Phase 1’. A particular bone of contention has been the company’s steadfast refusal to adjust its approach in the light of a comprehensive  CWU survey that proved beyond doubt that sufficient numbers of willing leavers are  prepared to take  genuine VR packages to avoid the need for compulsion altogether,

The latest redundancies, of which around 100 would appear to involve CWU-represented grades,  focus on those parts Dynamic Infrastructure, in Service Platforms, Service Management and IT that emerged unscathed in ‘Phase 1’. See details here.

The extent to which Technology bosses are inexplicably wedded to a redundancy approach based on compulsion was demonstrated last month when, in an extraordinary act of bad faith, senior management pulled the rug on the terms on a final CWU counter-proposal based on an innovative ‘job swap’ idea, which could have eradicated the need for wholesale compulsory redundancies.

Then, just days later,  bosses plumbed the depths once again – announcing that User Access Management (UAM) work in IT will be transferred offshore to India, directly leading to more compulsory redundancies in the UK.

At the time Technology denied  that decision – to achieve a cost saving of just £620,000 – was an initial tranche of its ‘Phase 2’ job losses, extraordinarily describing the offshoring as ‘business as usual’.

Now bosses have changed tack – insisting the offshoring is part of  its ‘Phase 2 Transformation’ drive after all –  but the decision still casts doubt over the  corporate social  responsibility of a successful company that is exporting jobs at a time of a burgeoning UK unemployment crisis.

CWU national officer for BT Technology, Sally Bridge, points out that management’s recategorisation of the UAM offshoring is ultimately irrelevant  when viewed against the wider injustice associated with a compulsory redundancy situation that could and should be addressed by voluntary means.

Stressing that the newly proposed ‘Phase 2’ job losses are “completely unacceptable if management isn’t prepared to rethink its approach to how it deals with the surplus resource,” Sally continues: “Technology needs to urgently reconsider and revisit the counter-proposals that the CWU has already submitted under ‘Phase 1’ of the Transformation programme which are predicated on the basis of voluntarism.

“The solutions are fairly straightforward, so the fact that Technology continues to dogmatically drive forward their Transformation programme without consideration of  avoiding compulsory redundancies just demonstrates how relentless and ruthless this company has become.”


Just hours to deliver an unmistakable message of defiance…

Members across BT Technology now have less than 24 hours  to register their opposition at management’s current trajectory in a consultative ballot.

The ballot, which closes tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10am, is intended to signal to management the willingness of employees to take industrial action to protest at the compulsory redundancy bloodbath ahead of a formal industrial action ballot.

Urging all members in Technology to cast their vote – and to vote ‘YES’ en-masse – Sally concludes: “Even those who’ve not been affected by any of the changes announced to date need to appreciate that their  job may no longer be safe in this brutal new environment.

“Above everything we need everyone to support their colleagues who are already staring down the barrel of a gun by delivering the clearest possible message to BT Technology that the way it is behaving is simply not acceptable.”

  • Electronic ballot papers were issued last Thursday (October 22) and the consultative E-ballot will close at 10am tomorrow (Thursday October 29) – with the result being announced shortly afterwards. Anyone who has not yet cast their vote should do so via the link contained in an email from the CWU that was sent to all Technology members’ home addresses last Thursday, or a reminder email that was despatched at 9am yesterday (Tuesday).


CWU members across BT Group  are urged to throw their collective weight behind the CWU’s Count Me In campaign of resistance against the many and varied attacks on job security and terms & conditions across the company – of which the current redundancy situation in BT Technology is just one example.