BT accused of 'thumbing nose' over Alness contact centre closure proposals as Highland MSP raises issue at Holyrood
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TWO Highland MSPs were today at the heart of an exchange over the fate of scores of call centre workers in Alness.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has been pushing the case for workers affected by BT's proposal to close a contact centre with the potential loss of around 100 jobs.
Today, Rhoda Grant MSP asked what interventions the Scottish Government are taking on the proposed closure of the BT Alness site.
She raised the only available option to redundancies at the moment is staff working in cities too far away to commute.
Regarding BT’s decision, she said: “The BT group has been the benefactor of hundreds of millions of government money through their partners Openreach and EE. Yet they thumb their noses, undermining Government policy.”
She asked the Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees what interventions the government and their partners are taking now to protect BT’s loyal workforce in Alness.
She said that in her answer Emma Roddick MSP, stated that despite growing up in Alness herself, she was unable to provide information on the question, and would pass along the request to her cabinet colleagues.
The question was asked during Portfolio Questions: Social Justice in the Holyrood Chamber.
The full question was: “The Minister will be aware of the BT, and their subcontractor Blue Arrow, redundancies in Alness. The only option open to BT staff is to relocate to Dundee and Manchester – causing rural depopulation. The BT group has been the benefactor of tens of millions of government money through their partners Openreach and EE. Yet they thumb their noses, undermining Government policy.
"Can I ask if the Minister has met with BT on this issue, what response he/she received, what interventions have been made by their agencies and what action are they taking to protect BT’s loyal workforce in Alness.”
BT has previously said that home-working was not possible as their policy nationally was to work in the office three days a week with home working available twice a week.
BT previously said: “The proposals form part of BT Group’s strategy to bring people together in a smaller number of office locations. We are working closely with our union partners in the Communication Workers Union and Prospect, and will continue to do so throughout the consultation process.”