VOTE: BT staff stage protest against office closure

CWU members protests against the proposed closure of the BT Centre on Caton Road.
CWU members protests against the proposed closure of the BT Centre on Caton Road.

Staff at BT Directories Ltd in Lancaster staged a protest on Wednesday against the proposed closure of their offices.

Around 90 staff are facing an uncertain future after telecoms giant BT proposed to reduce its workforce and close offices in Lancaster and Bradford.

The company says its aim is to “improve its operational efficiency and ensure the long term sustainability of the business”.

Offices in Dundee, Glasgow and Dudley would remain open and any extra work would be transferred across to these sites.

The staff were supported by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which has 90 per cent membership at the site in Caton Road.

David Hill, the local branch secretary for CWU, said: “The loss of skilled work from the area is bad enough however when the company will not discuss with us the impact that this will have on our members, concerns are bound to be raised.

“We feel there is a business case to retain the work in the area, which we are being denied the opportunity to present.”

He added: “Not withstanding BT continuing to recruit in the region for roles which many of those already employed would willingly and have the skills required to carry out as an alternative. These roles we believe should be made available at the very least to those facing redundancy”.

A spokesman for BT said: “Following a review, BT Directories Ltd Online (which offers website design and build services), proposed to scale back its sales and support operations to improve its operational efficiency and ensure the long term sustainability of the business.

“We are currently part way through a consultation with our staff in Lancaster about their options in the event the closure of the site goes ahead.

“We are actively helping them to review their employment options both within BT and outside of BT.

“We will continue to offer as much support as possible as the consultation progresses. ”