UK telecoms giant BT axes thousands of jobs

BT will shed 13,000 jobs over the next three years as it seeks to slice off an extra £1.5 billion in costs

London (AFP) – British telecoms and television broadcasting company BT on Thursday said it plans to axe thousands more jobs to slash costs.

BT, which also reported a dip in annual earnings, that the 13,000 jobs would go over the next three years as it seeks to slice off an extra £1.5 billion ($2.0 billion, 1.7 billion euros) in costs.

The latest revamp will mainly affect back office jobs, or support positions that tend to be based outside London, and middle management roles.

It will however seek to hire around 6,000 new employees for customer services and network deployment.

BT plans also to exit its London headquarters near St Paul’s Cathedral.

BT, which possesses Britain’s leading fixed-line and mobile access networks, has in recent years launched a costly push into broadcasting live Premier League football matches.

“Our integration and restructuring activities remain on track,” said chief executive Gavin Patterson.

Thursday’s latest announcement is part of an ongoing overhaul, under which it had already axed 4,000 jobs last year.

BT had a total of 106,400 employees according to its most recent 2017 annual report.

Shares in BT slumped 8.0 percent on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down 0.2 percent overall.

“13,000 job cuts and a move out of central London are drastic actions, and should help deliver £1.5 billion in cost savings,” noted George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers.

“But they still aren’t going to be enough to dig BT out the hole it’s in. The dividend, which was rising 10 percent a year not so long ago, is set to freeze for the foreseeable future, and next year’s profits look likely to fall again,” he added.