BT is planning to cut jobs by 13,000 over the next three years - more than had been rumoured only last week - as it looks to cut annual running costs by £1.5 billion. It will also sell-up its London headquarters on Newgate Street in the City and relocate to a cheaper location.
The announcement today coincided with the unveiling of the company's annual results for the year to the end of March, which revealed revenue down by one per cent for the year, but by three per cent for the final quarter.
At the same time, though, the company said it would hire about 6,000 front-line engineers, customer service and cyber security specialists.
BT said the job losses would come mainly from back office and middle management roles, with around two-thirds of the job cuts set to fall on the company's 80,000-strong UK workforce, with the remainder coming from the 18,000 staff it employs internationally.
"Decisions like this are not easy, we recognise that it is going to affect a lot of people but ultimately we need to do these things to ensure that we remain a competitive business going forward and that we can benchmark our performance against peer companies," said BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
He added that it was the "right thing for the business" and would help take BT "into its next chapter".
The company is also planning to move out of its London headquarters in St Paul's, where the company has been based since 1874. The company will continue to maintain a "smaller presence" in London at a yet to be decided location.
BT was also last year hit by a £42 million fine from regulator Ofcom, plus a £300 million compensation bill, for its failings around ‘deemed consent' in its Openreach division. Ofcom has been working to break the BT/Openreach monopoly on fibre access for several years.
It is also committed to closing the yawning £11.3 billion deficit in the corporate pension fund, with payments of £2.1 billion over the three years to 31 March 2020, together with a £2 billion contribution that will be funded by a bond issue.
In response to the cull, Philippa Childs, the general secretary of the Prospect union, said: "The scale of these jobs cuts is higher than had been previously speculated on and come as a devastating blow to managers and professionals represented by Prospect.
"Many of the roles that BT is proposing to cut are highly skilled professionals and the loss of that expertise could impact BT's research and innovation capability."
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