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CWU will not oppose BT job cuts

The main union at BT, the CWU, says it will go along with the 10,000 job cuts announced by the firm, providing there are no compulsory redundancies.

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The main union at BT, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), says it will go along with the 10,000 job cuts announced by the firm, providing there are no compulsory redundancies.

BT has already indicated there will not be "compulsion" in the jobs cull, but no doubt this will be scant reward for those remaining in their job with bigger workloads.

Customers, whether companies buying IT services from BT or consumers relying on potentially understaffed customer service centres, will also not be celebrating.

Andy Kerr, the CWU deputy general secretary, said, "10,000 jobs is a huge number and it will be difficult for BT to shed that amount in one year.

"We will be holding BT to their statement, made by Ian Livingstone this morning, that there will be no compulsion to meet these cuts. The CWU will oppose any compulsory redundancies by whatever means necessary."

He said, "We have a meeting set up with BT to discuss the detail of how these reductions will be implemented. We will be emphasising voluntary redundancies and natural wastage, but this is clearly far from an ideal situation for BT employees."

BT plans to shed the staff by the end of March. Whilst most trade unions stopped launching industrial disputes over "voluntary" redundancies about 20 years ago, BT management will still see the pushing through of such a major redundancy programme as a great success.

However, the trap it will not want to fall for is axing highly skilled engineers and technologists for short-term gain. Before the advent of broadband it did just this, and then found it did not have enough experienced heads to deliver leading edge multimedia services.

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