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BT workers facing uncertain future

PUBLISHED: 09:27 13 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:55 06 July 2010

WORKERS at BT in Martlesham face an anxious few weeks amid fears the company may be about to shed thousands more jobs.

A spokesman for the telecommunications giant has dismissed a report that it was poised to axe 10,000 posts next month as "kite-flying".

WORKERS at BT in Martlesham face an anxious few weeks amid fears the company may be about to shed thousands more jobs.

A spokesman for the telecommunications giant has dismissed a report that it was poised to axe 10,000 posts next month as “kite-flying”.

However, a national newspaper has claimed the jobs are to go as part of a redundancy programme.

It claimed the efficiency drive will be disclosed at the same time as year-end results. They are expected to show provisions of up to £1.5b on contracts at BT's division serving multi-national customers.

Although branding the reported number of potential jobs losses as “speculation”, the BT spokesman admitted the company could part with more workers.

He said: “We would not be announcing anything until May 14. We are looking at further efficiencies in the company. Part of that may well be that some more jobs may go, but it's impossible to say what number may be attributed to that.”

If the figures quoted nationally turn out to be accurate, the annual results will mark one of the lowest points in BT's history since it was privatised in 1984.

It will also dent the legacy of Ben Verwaayen, BT's former chief executive, who left eight months ago to become the chief executive at Alcatel-Lucent.

BT has just completed a cost-cutting programme, which removed 10,000 positions from the business by the end of March.

Many of the cuts affected BT's indirect labour force such as agency workers, contractors and offshore staff.

The company has a total workforce of around 160,000 people in 170 countries.

Earlier this year it planned to announce a review of its cost base within global services at its results next month.

Yesterday's report said BT will also disclose £1.5b of write-downs on the value of contracts within the global services arm.

BT has already announced £340m of provisions because of a more cautious view of cost efficiencies and contract performance at the division. This is thought to have related to 15 of its 17 biggest contracts.

However, the remaining two are believed to be significant, with the biggest being the NHS programme to upgrade its IT systems.

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