The UK’s economy suffered another crushing blow as telecoms giant BT announced it was cutting 10,000 jobs, mainly among agency workers and sub-contractors.
Union leaders expressed shock at the scale of the cutback and warned they would resist any moves to make compulsory redundancies.
The company said it had already cut 4,000 jobs, leaving a further 6,000 to go between now and March, adding that it was not planning any compulsory redundancies.
The cuts, part of an on-going efficiency programme, will mainly affect BT’s indirect labour force including agency workers, contractors and offshore staff, including those based in India.
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BT said it was reducing its dependence on consultants and contractors, cutting those jobs by 12% whereas direct staff numbers will come down by 4%.
BT, which has a global workforce of 160,000, said it will achieve the reduction in its direct staff largely through natural turnover, pointing out that reductions in previous years have been through voluntary schemes.
Around 90,000 direct jobs are based in the UK whereas contractors and agency workers are spread between this country and other parts of the world.
The jobs announcement came as BT announced an 11% fall in second quarter pre-tax profits to £590 million. Revenues were 4% higher at £5.3 billion.