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Posted on Sep 06 2010
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Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock yesterday met Warren Buckley, managing director of BT Retail customer service, and Tim O’Sullivan, BT’s director of Public Affairs in London to discuss the centre.
Staff at the BT service, in Abbey Road, were told on August 9 that 57 people would be losing their jobs in January.
The company has said it will help them to find new jobs, but they will have to be retrained or relocated.
Mr Woodcock has given his support to the workers and met bosses of the company in London to discuss the future of the staff.
He said although the meeting went well, he plans to have further discussions with all parties involved.
He said: “This was a constructive meeting but there is still a long way to go. BT reassured me they are determined to keep a base in Barrow alongside their efforts to support existing staff, which is critically important.
“But the central question is whether the company will provide sufficient new work here that makes up for the loss of the directory enquiries business.
“People will not understand or accept it if BT are seen to strip the area of opportunities at a time when they are actually bringing work back to the UK from overseas.
“The company are in detailed negotiation with the Communication Workers Union and individual employees at the company. I want to pay tribute to the way they are handling this worrying and difficult situation.
“I will do everything I can working with them to keep up the pressure and have resolved to speak formally to the company again before their October deadline.”
Mr Buckley agreed the meeting had gone well and said they plan to meet again in October.
He said: “We reiterated BT’s commitment to working with staff affected by the directory enquiry service closure to find them alternative employment with BT or other options to suit their wishes.
“BT will continue to provide employment in Barrow on other services and functions and these will be included in the employment options for the staff concerned.”
BT has blamed the closure on falling numbers of people calling directory enquiries.
The centre was previously threatened with closure in 2005 and 2008, but the staff managed to stave off the threat when they proved they were performing well.
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