British Telecom sheds 10,000 jobs as recession bites

November 13th, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 13 (DPA) British Telecom (BT) said Thursday that it would cut 10,000 jobs in the current financial year, as part of an ongoing efficiency programme.The news came after a string of similar job-cutting announcements by major British firms in the last fortnight, including Virgin Media, which shed 2,200 jobs, construction firm Taylor Wimpey and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Figures released Wednesday showed that Britain’s unemployment total reached an 11-year high of 1.82 million in the three months to September, a figure that is expected to rise to two million by Christmas.

BT said the company had already cut 4,000 jobs and was planning to shed a further 6,000 by March, 2009.

It would reduce its dependence on consultants and contractors, while about 4,000 “core” positions would be affected. BT has a global workforce of 160,000.

The company, which issued a profit warning earlier this month, said the job cuts were “not a direct result” of the current economic downturn.

“This is a reflection of the fact we have to become leaner,” BT chief executive Ian Livingston said. “We are taking decisive action to put matters right.”

The announcement appeared to be welcomed by investors, with BT shares rising by more than 13 percent to 126 pence on the London stock market Thursday.

Figures showed that while BT’s revenue rose by four percent to 5.3 billion pounds (7.9 billion dollars) in the second quarter up to the end of September, pre-tax profits fell by 11 percent to 590 million pounds.

BT said that three of its four main business units were performing well, but profits at its global services division “were simply not good enough.”

Last month, BT had warned that its global services division, which provides IT networks to multinational businesses, would report lower profits.

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