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BT shunts broadband support to India - 886 jobs at risk

'Merry Christmas'

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Up to 886 jobs in the UK could be axed after BT awarded a major broadband tech support contract to an outsourcing firm in India.

Staff at ClientLogic - who have manned BT's broadband technical helpdesk for all consumer and business customers for the last five years - were told yesterday that the IT services company had failed to win a competitive tender.

Instead, HCL was awarded the contract to run BT's broadband technical helpdesk. Although ClientLogic will continue to work on other support work for BT such as broadband billing and provision of new service, insiders are concerned that these too will eventually be shunted overseas.

Wasting no time getting the new contract up and running, HCL began taking its first calls yesterday from BT broadband users ahead of a swift migration of the business to India. HCL is expected to handle all tech support enquiries from next month.

According to the Communications Workers Union (CWU), BT's decision to award the contract to HCL in India is expected to create up to 582 redundancies at ClientLogic's centre in Derby and up to 304 job losses in Bristol. Not all the jobs concerned are ClientLogic employees with just over half being agency staff.

"What a disastrous Christmas present this news is for ClientLogic's employees in Derby and Bristol, to hear their jobs will no longer exist because BT has decided to source its broadband support services offshore," said the CWU's assistant secretary Sally Bridge.

"By awarding this contract to a supplier in India, BT is blatantly circumventing its social obligation," said Bridge.

A spokesman for BT told us that HCL was selected because it represented the "best supplier" and the "best value for money".

"There are cost savings [from this deal] but not at the expense of customer service," he said. ®

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