New offshoring outrage as BT moves to sack UK workers and send their work overseas

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT

Tuesday 20th October 2020

Shameless BT bosses have announced new plans that will result in more British jobs being exported at a time of skyrocketing UK unemployment.

In a move that exposes a breathtaking lack of corporate social responsibility when the UK economy is on its knees as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, shocked CWU negotiators have been told that five team member grade employees in BT Global are ‘at risk’ of compulsory redundancy as a direct result of their work being offshored to Hungary and India.

Yesterday’s (October 19)  bombshell – from a still highly profitable blue chip company that likes to portray itself as a national telecommunications and broadband champion –  comes less than a month after a separate BT division announced the redundancy of its entire  UK User Access Management Team on account of decision to move their work to Bangalore to achieve a cost saving of just £620,000 (See story here)

Ushering in that earlier outrage, BT Technology bosses told astonished CWU negotiators that there was no point in the union attempting to challenge the rationale of the decision on the grounds that the 12 D1 and C3 graded employees impacted commanded salaries in the region of £40,000 in the UK for work that could be conducted in Bangalore by workers paid just £5,000!

Last month’s jaw-dropping display of cold and calculating managerial frankness by Technology came when concerns were already being expressed by the union at  Openreach’s ever increasing reliance on offshore resource to carry out work associated with the building of the UK’s fibre network.

The company’s Fibre Network Delivery (FND) division currently has a full-time equivalent headcount of around 2,000 in India – accounting for two thirds of the desk-based work connected with the UK Government subsidised high speed broadband rollout – and that ratio looks likely to rise further amid a full frontal assault on desk-based roles in the UK resulting from Openreach’s site rationalisation programme.

Commenting on yesterday’s further demonstration of a renewed  enthusiasm for offshoring by different parts of BT Group – at a time when the company is making unprecedented compulsory redundancies of team member grade employees in the UK –  CWU national officer for BT Global, Allan Eldred insists: “This attack on a small number of Global workers must be resisted by us all, because it’s not going to stop here if we don’t.”

                                Allan Eldred

Pointing out that Global’s chilling disregard for the loyal employees who stand to lose their livelihoods just after Christmas, as a direct  result of the offshoring decision, is symptomatic of a ruthless new management approach sweeping across the whole of BT Group, Allan adds: “No team member should be under any illusion; nobody’s job is safe.

“It’s bad enough that redundancies are even being mooted  given the small number impacted  by this particular decision. BT has redeployed thousands of people over many years. The process has worked for thousands and would work now  – if management allowed it to.

“Instead the company is moving towards the complete abandonment of redeployment as a way of mitigating the effects of change. This is not through necessity – it’s through choice.

“It’s also a direct breach of the redundancy agreement contained in Annexe 2 of the 2018 Pensions Agreement, which holds BT to onshore work to prevent redundancies. Global is doing the direct opposite – offshoring work to create redundancies!”

Allan stresses: “We’ve already seen  hundreds of job cuts in Enterprise –  many through compulsory redundancy – and BT’s ironically titled Better Workplace site rationalisation programme hasn’t even ramped up yet!

“Compare the approach that BT management is taking with  ‘key workers’ , who’ve worked through the pandemic  to keep the UK connected, with the incompetence at the top of the company. The share price is now lower than it was when BT was privatised nearly 40 years ago – and it has halved in the last 12 months!

“No team member is responsible for that…and no team member should pay the price for management’s incompetence with their jobs.”

CWU members across BT Group  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.

A special video explaining why a concerted fightback is now crucial can be viewed below: