The closure of British Telecom’s operations in Alness, Scotland, as part of cost-cutting efforts across the UK, could see around 100 contract and agency workers lose their jobs. The telecoms company has rejected a union proposal that would allow staff to work from home or at BT’s call center in Thurso, which is about 90 miles away. BT, which has been a major employer in Alness for nearly 25 years, says it remains committed to Scotland and has offered to move to Dundee or Manchester.
The Ross-shire contact center has been identified by BT as a “major service center site” in 2021. However, the company plans to reduce the number of sites in the UK from 300 to 30. The Communications Workers Union, which represents workers at the site, has put forward a series of Alternative proposals in an attempt to save jobs in the city. The union states that a transfer offer is not a reliable alternative for most people. The union’s Alan Aldred said: “We believe our counter-proposal makes sense from both an individual and commercial perspective and is being achieved without harm and even with some benefit to the company.” Our proposals will prevent many redundancies in one of the most remote areas of the UK where alternative employment options are extremely scarce.
A BT spokesperson said: “We are in a period of massive change and investment for the future and as part of the Better Workplace programme, we are assessing our UK buildings against our long-term needs.” At Alness, we are planning to close our local site and are consulting in detail with affected colleagues about what this might mean for them. There will be no impact on customers. We remain committed to Scotland as a long-term location for business.”