Fears over job losses at BT business centre in Preston after telecoms giant reveals plans to close 270 offices

At least 30,000 BT workers are fearing for their future today after the telecoms giant revealed plans to shut 9 in 10 of its UK offices.

By Matthew Calderbank
Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 3:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 4:24 pm
The BT Local Business centre in Pittman Way, Fulwood currently serves business clients in Lancashire and Cumbria.
The BT Local Business centre in Pittman Way, Fulwood currently serves business clients in Lancashire and Cumbria.

BT Group made the announcement today (June 5) and confirmed that it will close at least 270 of its 300 offices, including its current headquarters in London.

It means around 30,000 staff will be forced to relocate to regional business hubs around the country, with the North West headquarters to be based in Manchester.

The telecoms giant has not revealed which of the 270 offices in the UK will be closed, leaving staff uncertain about their future.

BT would not confirm to the Post whether its Preston Local Business Centre in Pittman Way, Fulwood is one of the locations set to be axed.

The Preston office serves business customers in Lancashire and Cumbria, and employs appriximately 250 staff.

But the BT Group said the office closures will not lead to job losses, with 30,000 workers to be offered roles at its remaining 'key locations'.

If the Preston office does find itself on the list of closures, staff are likely to be relocated to the Manchester Local Business Centre in Salford.

Thousands of other workers will be expected to take up roles at business centres in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Ipswich and a new HQ in London.

The restructuring is part of the Group's "workplaces of the future" programme, with the consolidation of its office space and staff to be completed by 2023.

BT said its telephone exchanges will be retained by the Group.

A spokesman for BT Group said: "We are consolidating BT Group’s footprint of more than 300 locations to around 30 modern, future-fit buildings, including corporate offices, contact centres and specialist sites.

"This is a clear signal that BT is committed to the whole of the UK, with locations in all four countries and their capitals. Though detailed plans of BT’s footprint in each location are still to be finalised, some existing BT buildings will be refurbished while others will see BT move into new offices.

"There are a number of stages to this programme, from announcing the locations, to revealing the number of buildings in each location, all the way to moving people in and out where required. We’ll share more information on the further locations as soon as possible."

Noel McClean, national officer of the Prospect union, said: "While the union is committed to working with BT to establish offices that are fit for the 21st century, what is left unsaid in today’s announcement is what will happen to the current estate.

"Indeed, moving from an estate of over 300 locations to around 30 by 2023 poses a huge logistical challenge for all concerned.

"For example, closing each existing building will require a period of consultation and considerable support for affected staff, from both the company and the union."

By the end of 2023, there will be only around 30 larger offices remaining, compared to the 300 sites currently in operation.