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Worrying time for BT's Northern Ireland staff as 35,000 UK jobs to go

By Michelle Weir

The future of BT workers in Northern Ireland was unclear yesterday after the telecoms giant announced 13,000 job losses in the UK.

BT said that "back office" staff and middle management roles would be most affected.

BT employs 2,529 workers here.

The announcement comes less than two months after the company said that it was creating 130 apprenticeship and graduate roles in Belfast, Londonderry, Coleraine, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Newry.

Those roles include tech design, tech operations, software, IT, sales, finance, customer experience and engineering.

The recruitment drive includes BT's engineering division, NI Networks, which will be taking on 30 apprentices over the next 12 months.

The move to cut 13,000 jobs comes as BT seeks to reduce its costs by around £1.5 billion by the final year of its three-year plan.

Yesterday, the telecoms firm also announced plans to hire around 6,000 new employees "to support network deployment and customer service".

A spokeswoman for BT said: "There are no details at this stage of either the reduction in roles, or the new jobs we have announced today.

"We have been clear, however, that the changes will represent an investment in the jobs and skills needed to strengthen our networks and improve customer service and cyber security."

In response to the job cuts, Prospect trade union national secretary Philippa Childs said: "The scale of these job cuts is higher than had previously been speculated on and will come as a devastating blow to managers and professionals represented by Prospect.

"Many of the roles that BT is proposing to cut are highly skilled professionals and the loss of that expertise could impact BT's research and innovation capability."

Belfast Telegraph

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