BT merges divisions, Openreach strike ends • The Register

Just as a source of tension at BT ends as unionized workers vote to accept the latest wage offer rather than escalate the industrial action, the telecom company is merging its Global and Enterprise divisions to cut costs.

The former state monopoly confirmed it is merging the B2B entities and renaming them BT Business. This, the company said, would create a “single interface” for businesses and public sector customers, “which leverages the full scope and capabilities of BT Group”.

The main reason seems to have been identified as “the consolidation and streamlining of management teams, support functions, product portfolios and systems with annual cost savings of £100m”. Lest we forget, BT has raised its cost savings targets from £2.5bn to £3bn ($3bn to $3.6bn) “by the end of FY25”.

BT Business is run by the wonderfully named Bas Burger who currently runs BT Global. Prior to BT, he was Executive President and member of the Management Committee at Tech Services biz Getronics.

The business he leads will consist of three units: UK consumer connectivity support; business and public sector; and the UK’s nationwide Openreach Fixed Access infrastructure.

The merged entity operates a portfolio that includes fixed and IP voice, unified comms, mobile, fixed and networking, security, cloud and IT, and managed services, with Enterprise focusing on the UK and globally…well, the clue is in the name .

BT plans to make EE its flagship brand for consumers.

Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group, said: “By bringing the two entities together, BT Business will put the group’s combined assets, products, capabilities and brands at the service of all of our 1.2 million business customers, who will benefit from faster innovation and delivery will.”

Rob Shuter, who runs BT Enterprise, will “retire from leadership and spend time with family and personal interests,” the company confirmed.

No doubt working out the details of the integration over the coming months will attract the interest of BT unions, including the CWU and Prospect, as dual roles are addressed and some people are deemed redundant.

The CWU recently advised thousands of BT engineers and call center workers in its membership to accept BT’s offer of payment. Yesterday it was confirmed that 81 percent of votes cast on the same day approved the offer. “Of the ballots sent out, 73 percent were returned.”

The offer is a “lump-sum fully consolidated and pensionable salary increase of £1,500 payable monthly from 1 January 2023”. Around 85 per cent of BT Group workers will receive these, although it was 26,000 Openreach engineers and call center staff who took part in industrial action.

This is in addition to the £1,500 wage bonus for BT paid staff from April, which is the source of the dispute with the CWU and led to eight days of strikes between July and October. The union stuck to 10 per cent, citing rising inflation, but BT ignored it.

These were BT’s first nationwide strikes since 1987, affecting 40,000 subscriber lines over the summer. With restructuring taking place elsewhere in the country, unions are expected to get involved again. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/16/with_one_strike_ending_bt/ BT merges divisions, Openreach strike ends • The Register

Rick Schindler

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