In a move to reduce costs BT Retail is cutting 2,200 jobs over the next two years from its call centres. The telecom group is to close 67 of 98 call centres over the next four years. Last month the group said it was reviewing the future of its call centre operations, which run directory inquiries and accounting services.
Patricia Vaz, BT Retail's managing director of customer service, said: "Everyone in our existing call centre operation will be affected in one way or another. However, we are totally committed to manage these changes sensitively and professionally, and in line with specific principles agreed with the unions." The cuts do not involve any compulsory redundancies.
Although just over 50 percent of existing call centre sites will close within two years, the proportional impact on job numbers will be significantly less.
Vaz said: "In close consultation with the unions, we are exploring every possible avenue to ensure that most people can be relocated to next-generation sites which are within travelling distance. Where that is not possible, we are looking at alternative options across BT Group, including non-call centre work."
The closures will be carried out in seven overlapping phases over the two years, with six months' notice being given in all cases. The first closures are expected to happen in October.
Carol Borghesi, director of the next-generation contact centre project, said: "Every year about 10 per cent of people working in our contact centres leave by their own choice to take up positions elsewhere in company or leave BT altogether. This natural wastage, over the two-year implementation period, gives us scope and flexibility and will help with redeployment.
BT Retail will spend £100m developing 30 next-generation contact centres over the next two years.