Outrage at the way in which BT Technology is pressing ahead with compulsory redundancies – despite rock solid evidence provided by the CWU that the 187 sought for job cuts could be achieved voluntarily – promoted an outpouring of anger and raw emotion on social media yesterday (Thursday).
Thousands from across the CWU and beyond participated in the National Day of Support for BT Technology Workers, sharing the collective sense of despair and betrayal at the company’s treatment of loyal key workers who have worked tirelessly to keep the country connected during theCovid-19 pandemic.
With those in scope for possible redundancy being ‘rewarded’ for their dedication by having to literally fight for their jobs in a brutal selection process under which the company is choosing who it wants to go before allowing willing volunteers for VR packages to step forward – a myriad of posts reflected the disgust that a major blue chip is treating employees in this manner.
One of the most poignant of all came from a Technology worker of 34 years standing who gave a first-hand video account of the emotional rollercoaster ride he has endured after discovering how little a lifetime of diligent work for a company he loved means to the bean counters who appear to be in control today.
“The range of emotions I’m going through range from anger to disbelief, but I would day the overwhelming feeling is one of worthlessness, so thanks BT,” explains Craig, from Owestry in Shropshire.
With razor sharp irony, made all the more cutting by the sad calmness of his delivery, Craig continues: “I really appreciate the sleepless nights I’m going through; the worries and the stress this is causing – and, BT, I hope you are really proud of the mental anguish you are causing people at the moment.
“I use the word ‘proud’ because I used to be proud working for this company, but now I realise I’m just a faceless, disposable UIN number.”
Commenting on the poignancy of not just Craig’s post, but of hundreds more like it from not just those already at risk in Technology but others across BT Group who truly cannot believe how a once good employer has changed its spots, CWU national officer for Technology Sally Bridge stressed the importance of those responsible for the about-turn appreciating the consequences of their actions.
“Time and time again we’ve attempted to challenge the people we are trying to negotiate with, but they simply don’t want to know,” she rages.
“I genuinely believe that’s because they don’t even want to think about the upset and despair they are causing in carrying out the instructions of others at a level of management that is blissfully removed from the unpleasant reality of the consequences of its actions.
“That’s why the CWU is urgently seeming a meeting with the ultimate boss of BT Technology, Howard Watson, at which we can calmly and factually present the reasons why Technology’s current approach to the current staff surplus situation is needless and cruel.
“We need that conversation with someone who’s really in a position to reconsider the company’s direction in a meaningful way…because at present all of the CWU’s seriously considered counterproposals are being knocked back for no good reason as far as we can see, apparently just because they don’t fit in with a pre-ordained script that employee relations are simply carrying out.
“I’m sorry, but the line that we’re simply following orders doesn’t wash when real people’s lives are at stake – people who have literally given their lives to building this company and are understandably shell-shocked at what is happening to them.”
Conscious that August 31 date at which redundancies were initially proposed to commence in earnest is fast approaching , albeit that some slippage is now inevitable, in parallel with the union’s last ditch appeal for a meeting with Howard Watson the CWU is pursuing urgent legal advice on a number of fronts.
One of these avenues involves the findings of a major survey of members in Technology which reveals that there are more than enough people who would want to leave the company voluntarily – meaning the current staff surplus could easily be painlessly addressed if only the selection criteria would allow them to opt for a VR package.
Sally concludes: “Frankly the current situation is surreal. Left as they stand, Technology’s current approach will lead to the absurd position of many people who want to remain employed being forced out the door – and, on the other hand, many who want to leave the company voluntarily being forced to stay!
“How can that be a positive outcome in anyone’s books? That’s why my appeal to Howard Watson and any other senior managers driving the current approach is please think again and act NOW to pull back from the brink.”
All members across BT Technology are urged to attend a specially convened online meeting next Tuesday evening (August 25) where the CWU’s Technology National Team will give a comprehensive update on the unfolding compulsory redundancy situation.
The Zoom webinar will commence at 6:30pm and run until 8pm. To join the webinar, please click the on the link below, and enter the passcode: