The Communication Workers Union has accused BT of "deliberate under-staffing" in response to the telco's plans to axe 4,000 jobs.
BT is planning to shed the jobs in its network and systems division, partly because of new technology, it said. The cuts are likely to be made in the areas of planning, clerical and support, though people with specific engineering skills will stay, said a spokesperson. Around 8,000 of the 50,000-strong workforce in the division have already been slashed over the past two years.
The cuts will be voluntary, continued the spokesperson. ?The cuts are likely to happen over the next year. We haven?t, at this stage, identified where the majority of the cuts will be,? she said.
The Communication Workers Union condemned the move as ?unacceptable?. Deputy general secretary Derek Bourn, said: ?BT?s plan involves deliberate under staffing. To fill the gap yet more money is to be set aside to increase overtime, which is already very high. Many engineering, field and customer staff already work extremely long hours every week and are under great pressure.?
BT has been shaving jobs over the past 10 years, despite enjoying record profits since it was privatised. It is also in dispute with members of another union, the Society of Telecomms Executives (STE), over pay. The dispute began in March and involved several strike actions. These were suspended in April when talks resumed with BT. An STE spokesperson said talks are still taking place but it does not expect anything to be resolved until the autumn.
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