Shameless BT Enterprise announces jobs export to India and redundancies in the UK


New doubt has been cast on BT’s corporate social responsibility following the latest in a series of offshoring outrages that will see job losses in the UK stemming directly from a cost-cutting decision to transfer work to India.

Yesterday  afternoon (Monday) BT Enterprise revealed  that 11 customer-facing employees in its ‘Mis-Sales Complaints Team’ have been placed ‘at risk’ of redundancy as a direct result of plans to transfer their work to Delhi.

The team members affected –  who are split between the company’s Belfast and  Warrington sites, with one additional colleague  in Brentwood  – received the bombshell that their work will be reallocated to an expanded sister  team in Delhi that was only formed last October, resulting in the very real threat of compulsory redundancies after  July 31.

Management has attempted to justify the move citing the efficiency of the newly established Delhi team in clearing a backlog of highly challenging complaints from business customers – as well as substantial cost savings stemming from lower wages in India.

The CWU, however, totally rejects the premise that issues with the UK end of the operation could not be addressed by good management and the proper application of BT policies in association with a targeted coaching regime.

CWU national officer for BT Enterprise, Allan Eldred explains: “Yesterday’s announcement by BT Enterprise represents a betrayal of the UK staff impacted on multiple levels.

“Not only does it contradict BT’s much vaunted public pronouncements of its intention to conduct 100% of direct voice-call interactions with customers in UK, but it also flies in the face of agreements with the union that, in order to mitigate any potential redundancies in the UK, serious consideration should be given to the onshoring of work that has previously been offshored.

“Instead, what we’re witnessing is Enterprise deliberately moving work offshore and creating UK redundancies as a direct result!

“Not only is that the polar opposite of what BT has specifically committed to in black and white  –  but it’s taking place at a time when the UK can ill-afford to lose precious jobs and associated UK tax revenue as the country struggles to recover from the economic and social ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Yesterday’s offshoring announcement by BT Enterprise  follows similar recent outrages by Technology and Global  – both of which drew fierce media criticism, with commentators pointing out that BT has fared better than most companies throughout the pandemic, remaining  highly profitable throughout.

“Once again BT is revealing a cold and calculating ruthlessness that ill-accords with the with the public image it likes to project of it being a  national telecommunications and broadband champion with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility,” Allan continues.

“Instead of  accepting that the UK team in question has been failed by previous bad management, and setting in place the necessary remedial action, the  knee-jerk reaction is to simply to ship out the work and declare ‘problem solved’ without giving a second thought to what that actually means for the employees impacted.

“Needless to say the CWU will be robustly challenging this approach in the forthcoming consultation.

“We’ve already advised management we’ll be lodging a formal counter-proposal based on our belief that the offshoring being proposed is essentially a cover-up for previous mismanagement of the UK team affected, and that the work should remain in situ, as per previous agreements, and be managed properly.”

The CWU is also questioning Enterprise’s own assertion that one possible way of addressing management difficulties by co-locating the entire UK team on one site had been ruled out because the division’s location strategy blocked any potential for expanding in either  Belfast or Warrington.

Allan concludes: “Above everything, Enterprise’s behaviour in even proposing these inflammatory redundancies is a very stark reminder of what the CWU’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign of resistance is all about.

“Nobody is safe when a mindset is prevalent across BT Group that as soon as there has been any kind of management failure, any drop in demand, any change in resourcing requirements stemming from new technology – or anything else, for that matter – the stock answer is to place the employees impacted straight at risk of compulsory redundancy with nothing more than lip-service being paid to the redeployment and re-training protocols that would formerly have come into play.

“That’s what we’re fighting against – and that’s why it’s vital that members across the whole of BT Group register a united show of defiance when it comes to the forthcoming industrial action ballot.”