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BT To Cut 13,000 Jobs In Restructuring Plans

Ross Kelly

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BT has announced it plans to cut up to 13,000 middle management and back office jobs as the company looks to restructure its operating model. The move will allow the firm to cut operating costs and invest in infrastructure projects.

BT has announced it will cut up to 13,000 jobs over the next three years as part of plans to restructure and transform the company’s operating model. The announcement, which came this morning, includes details of the firm’s vision over the next several years; which includes investment in ultrafast broadband and industry-leading 5G.

The three year reduction will consist largely of cuts to middle management and back office staff, according to BT. Despite reductions in these departments, the firm says it still intends to reinvest in customer service and infrastructure roles – Saying it is “hiring 6,000 new employees to support network deployment and customer service.”

Troubled Waters

BT CEO Gavin Patterson has been under intense pressure from investors recently in an attempt to improve the firm’s stock performance. Stocks have almost halved in last two years, prompting the company to take drastic measures to cut costs and restructure. Last year the company cut around 4,000 jobs in similar departments, with back office and management staff taking significant hits.

The company has spent billions in recent years buying football rights to attract a growing customer base for its’ Pay TV channels and in 2016 purchased mobile service provider, EE, for a sum of £12.6 billion. Last July BT’s profits fell by a staggering 42% as the company was embroiled in an accounting scandal in Italy; a scandal which saw the company incur a £225 million charge from authorities.

Delivering Differentiated Customer Experiences

Despite such significant job cuts, the company insists that the future is bright as it looks ahead with plans to lead the industry in 5G and ultrafast broadband coverage. The restructuring programme will cost around £800 million, according to BT, however in the long run these cuts will bring operating costs down by around £1.5 billion and allow BT to invest up to £3.7 billion annually in network infrastructure and cyber security operations.

In order to deliver what it says are “differentiated customers experiences” BT will continue to invest heavily in infrastructure. Currently, BT is committed to delivering 95% 4G coverage to the UK and delivering full-fibre broadband to over 10 million premises around the UK.

In a bid to accelerate its ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) programme, last month Openreach announced it is recruiting over 3,500 new trainee engineers, more than 400 of whom will be located in Scotland.

Gavin Patterson said that although cuts are imminent, BT is still in the ascendancy and plans to lead UK telecoms ,TV and broadband services in the coming years: “BT is uniquely positioned to be a leader in converged connectivity and services. We are a clear market leader in terms of the scale of our customer relationships.

“We have the UK’s leading fixed and mobile access networks, a portfolio of strong and well segmented brands, and close strategic partnerships. We provide products and services that are essential to both consumers and businesses, delivered through multiple channels to suit their needs.”

“This position of strength will enable us to build on the disciplined delivery and risk reduction of the last financial year, a period during which we delivered overall in-line with our financial and operational commitments whilst addressing many uncertainties.

“I am really excited to be delivering the next stage of BT’s transformation and have put in place the team that will support me in achieving these objectives.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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