Up to 140 jobs could be lost in the north-east in a “hammer blow” to the region, as BT confirms it will shut its New Telecom House base in Aberdeen.
The property, located next to the railway station, is still in use by BT staff, but they currently take up only around 10% of the space.
The telecommunications company has now confirmed it has made the “difficult decision” to close the offices, and they will be shut from November 20.
Around 140 BT employees are currently being consulted, and the company plans for some staff to move to different roles in the company, such as engineering, and some may move to work at the BT office in Dundee.
BT employs more than 400 people across the BT Group in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Around 300 employees, primarily engineers, are not impacted.
A spokesman for BT said: “We’ve consulted with a small number of office-based colleagues and unions on our proposal to close New Telecom House, and a small number of other offices in Aberdeen.
“We only use about 10% of New Telecom House, and the lease renewal is costly.
“We’ve carefully explored all the options, including whether colleagues could work from home permanently.
“We don’t believe this is a sustainable long-term option as we expect colleagues will be required to work flexibly between home and the ofice.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to close the offices.
“Our focus remains to help colleagues find roles within other BT Group sites, such as Dundee, which we announced as a key location in July.
“There’s no impact to customers and plans to extend our full-fibre network in the area are not affected.”
Aberdeen Central’s SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said: ““This is unforgivable from BT in what has been a complete abandonment of the city and its loyal workforce – the consultation was simply a box ticking exercise and staff have been badly let down.
“BT Group have failed to provide a business plan for this move or consider alternative accommodation in the city which I am certain would be cheaper than relocating to a so called “centre of excellence”, which is management speak drivel.
“A building is not a “centre of excellence” if it does not play host to top notch people.
“Staff had worked so well from home throughout the pandemic but now they’ve been cut adrift.
“It is utterly ridiculous and completely unbelievable that a communications company claims that it is unable to facilitate a home working network.
“BT must recognise that this situation is nonsensical, damages their reputation and betrays their loyal staff and they should sort this out now and retain jobs in Aberdeen and the north east.”
Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, said: “I don’t think there could have been a worse time for BT to abandon New Telecom House entirely.
“The north-east needed these jobs to stay.
“But from the outset, it looked as if the decision had already been made.
“This withdrawal will affect dozens of employees, including those who travel from within my constituency, and I hope their needs are being taken into account.
“A blend of home and office working should be on offer, at the very least, to cut down on commuting.”
North East regional Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “This is another hammer blow for Aberdeen.
“The staff at New Telecom House deserve better.
“Centralisation may save BT money but I believe more should have been done to keep these jobs local.
“The company must deliver a positive outcome for team members unable to suddenly move to Dundee, through no fault of their own.”