Contractors may suffer as BT slashes workforce

BT Retail CEO, Pierre Danon, has announced a massive shake-up of British Telecom's cost structure over the next few years. Although some savings have already been made in infastructure savings, the telecoms giant is planning to shed 19% of its workforce by March 2003, which will include some IT contractor staff.

Danon told analysts that the new strategy will see BT transform itself "from a ponderous Sumo wrestler into a lean and agile Samurai swordsman."

BT's share price has dropped nearly two thirds of its value since December 2000 after the company (and many others) racked up massive debts bidding for new generation telecommunications licenses.

The full three year plan to turn BT from a 'sumo wrestler' to a 'samurai', will involve the slashing of 13,000 jobs in total. 8,000 have already been removed, with the remainder to go within the next 15 months.

According to Professional Recruiter, the majority of the job losses will occur in call centres, however a spokesman said that some IT contractors would also lose their jobs as a result of the cost cutting exercise. He explained: ‘Very possibly a small number [will be IT contractors] but the bulk will be call centre people.’

We await further news on this latest threat to the contracting market, which follows on from a large number of rate cuts and project cancellatations this year.

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