BT jobs should be OK - in Suffolk

STAFF at Telecoms giant BT – including those at Martlesham and elsewhere in Suffolk – were today being reassured that job cuts were unlikely to hit the county.

STAFF at Telecoms giant BT – including those at Martlesham and elsewhere in Suffolk – were today being reassured that job cuts were unlikely to hit the county.

The pledge came as BT's new chief executive Ben Verwaayen announced his plans to control costs, cut debt and drive growth at the communications group.

Around 5,000 to 6,000 jobs are likely to be shed by the group nationally this year, in cuts which have already been announced.

But BT press officer Emma Littlejohn today told The Star: "I don't think this will have any effect on BT at Martlesham which is a massive growth area."


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She added that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

Mr Verwaayen said his three-year strategy was to focus on "customer satisfaction" and "financial discipline'. He plans to control costs, cut debt and drive growth at the telecoms group.

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At a press conference the Dutchman said: "We will achieve profitable growth by striking the right balance between growth and managing our finances with great discipline.

"We will neither grow for growth's sake, nor cut costs as an end to itself.

"We will continue to manage our debt down, we will stay within our existing capital expenditure envelope. And we will return to the dividend list.'

The group said broadband — which allows for high speed and "always on' Internet connection — would be at the heart of BT.

To drive this, it is to launch a product connecting customers direct to the Internet without first going through an Internet service provider.

BT said key targets included keeping spending down and cutting costs.

It would keep spending below £3 billion, drive down costs in sales and administration in its BT retail division by £175 million next year, and make savings of £200 million in its wholesale division.

Part of the cost savings would be achieved through job cuts, although these have been announced before, it said.

A BT spokesman said: "We are constantly reviewing staff numbers but there is no announcement on jobs today."

The group employs 108,000 staff, and said this number had been coming down by around 5,000 a year through voluntary redundancies and non-replacement of staff.

Staff numbers are to come down by another 5,000 to 6,000 this year.

Debt — which once hit £30 billion following an expansion drive — would be cut to below £10 billion over the three years. It currently stands at £13.6 billion.

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