BT link-up signals jobs bonanza

A JOBS bonanza was triggered today with the official launch of a £184m partnership to help regenerate South Shields riverside.

About 400 of South Tyneside Council's 7,000 staff have transferred to BT, which has pledged to set up its UK local government headquarters at Harton Staithes, creating 250 jobs in the first year alone.

The number of people employed at the new riverside complex could peak at 1,250 over the next decade.

Although council workers – including professional, administrative, IT, human resources, procurement and financial services staff – have not actually moved to other buildings, they are now employed by BT.

They have been transferred under TUPE Plus arrangements, which will protect their conditions of service.

Irene Lucas, South Tyneside Council chief executive, said: "I am delighted to welcome BT to South Tyneside on this landmark day for the borough.

"We have planned the strategic partnership very carefully, working closely with employees and with BT to put in place arrangements that will ensure a smooth transfer of staff and services.

"We now look forward to building a strong and successful partnership that will deliver jobs and improved services for the people of South Tyneside."

Margie Burdis, chief executive officer of BT South Tyneside, said: "This is the beginning of a very exciting and dynamic partnership. I am delighted to welcome the new staff to BT.

"They will join BT's 4,500 employees who already work here in North East England.

"We are committed to this region and the borough, and believe this partnership is the start of an exciting journey for all of us."

Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "This partnership will help us make enormous strides in our efforts to transform the riverside, and boost employment opportunities for local people.

"BT has guaranteed 750 quality jobs on average over the length of the contract, ranging from administrative and call centre posts, to technical and professional jobs.

"The number of jobs could peak at 1,250 over the 10-year period."