How are Everything Everywhere REALLY dealing with job losses?

everything_everywhere_ Yesterday, Bitterwallet ran a bizarre story about Everything Everywhere (the company founded by the gluing together of Orange and T-Mobile) which we had picked up from the Torygraph. It alleged that EE had informed workers whether or not they were going to be made redundant from a series of different-coloured lights displayed in mass meetings.

Everything Everywhere were quick to refute deny the accusations, and last night issued a statement which, among other things said:

“This sensationalist and insensitive portrayal of how we are dealing with this significant and serious proposed change to our business could not be further from the truth, and reports of the use of some kind of ‘light system’ to communicate to our employees is bizarre and incorrect”

“One of the many ways that we indicate the extent – or otherwise – of change is by using an indicative visual colour code. This, or variants of it, is a tool used across the HR industry when dealing with change of this scale and is designed to give employees total clarity about the extent of the proposed change for their teams at a glance, and allows them to clearly understand the impact on existing and proposed new roles, as well as what the next steps are for them.”

Oh, okay then. Someone made the whole thing up. Not according to an (anonymous) aid Bitterwallet reader, who commented thus....

I was at one of these briefings and it’s much like said… However, the best part of the story is that the slides where rendered in such a small font it was very hard to see your name, I was in a room with about 300 people and I only knew I was in a Blue Box after the meeting because one of my co-workers said he’d seen me.

My manager swears blind that he saw his name in 3 different slides, heading up 3 different teams.
It then took more than 24 hours for a different version of the slides to be distributed around the company so I could indeed confirm what colour box I was in.

But then, another avid reader (Herbert Fountain, which might not be his real name) popped up and said

“I heard this on Radio 4 yesterday and it is undoubtedly a great story, unfortunately it is complete twaddle.

I was in one of the meetings described and there were no flashing lights, no walkouts and no tears. The dreary reality is we saw a PowerPoint presentation on a proposed new organisational structure with fewer roles, it’s hard to believe there is anyone alive so innocent as to believe this was not going to be the upshot of two large companies merging.

The people I’ve come across who seem most upset are those wanting to go who think they’re unlikely to be picked for a pay off, the redundancy terms aren’t bad and both organisations have plenty of long servers, volunteers are not going to be in short supply.

I have very little faith in the humanity of my employer but this is balls and should be recognised as such, in three months time when the process has played out there will be a relatively small number of people out of a job who didn’t ask to go and those unfortunate few will not have been informed of the decision through the medium of flashing lights, charades or interpretative dance.”

Which leaves us here at Bitterwallet in our natural state – confused (and slightly tired). So... any more avid readers who were at one of these briefings who would like to share their version of events?


  • Playback
    So they didn't actually refute anything, they just denied it then.
  • Daniel Z.
    maybe it was a dreary power point presentation full of flashing lights...
  • Andy D.
    @Playback. Yeah. That one you said
  • Brad
    Maybe they did in the style of one of them adverts Orange have. "And after 1 week and 4 days the relationships going no where, you've grown apart....KERCHING!"
  • Alabaster C.
    @Playback. Repudiate.
  • The R.
    Maybe they hypnotized everyone with a series of flashing lights to make them forget it ever happened.....
  • tin
    Torygraph version = could easily be true but might not be. Everything everywhere version = most certainly bollocks. The company is too big and people too frequently incompetent for the diktat of the HR department to have been carried out faithfully by all the levels of management involved. EE's statement should read this is how we would have LIKED our managers to have handled this. What's the betting all staff are banned from speaking to the media, y'know to inform us of how it really was? I was right with the Sky thing so I'm going to stick a tenner on it.
  • One D.
    Well I was there, at one of the briefings. We were taken into a room team by team, in my case about 25 of us, and given a presentation by the most senior person in the directorate available. It should be noted that this could have been a director or VP depending on which person was at your particular site. The presentation gave us a backstory of what the rationale was behind the restructure, followed by slides of the existing structure followed by slides of the new structure. These were colour coded as follows:- Red - role no longer required. Yellow - role pooled. White - role outsourced offshore. Blue - role safe or mapped to another role. Green - new role created. According to another site - - EE said that "Ahead of any team briefings, individuals whose roles have been proposed to be put at risk in the new organisational structure were seen on a one-to-one basis, where the full implications of these changes were explained to them personally by either their line manager or director." If that happened it did not happen in all teams. @Tin, no media ban, just everyone is well aware that bad press being traced back will have an affect on whether you stay long enough to receive your redundancy payment!!! Yes I work at EE, No I'm not in a blue or green box.
  • delrio
    the guy that denied the flashing lights also said there was a powerpoint presentation, he just failed to mention the colour coding on that. sounds like the coloured slides were translated to coloured lights somewhere along the line but the basic premise is right. seems to me your original story was fairly spot on, and substitute the word 'lights' for 'slides' and you've pretty much got what actually happened they were possibly supposed to bring people in one-on-one, but it clearly didn't happen that way
  • Everything O.
    I believe Herbert Fountain is an HR mole from Everything Everywhere trying to cover the truth behind one of the most insensitive and misjudged company redundancy briefings ever. The spin being pumped out of EE is nothing short of inflammatory if you work for the company and know what's really going on. Readers of a certain newspaper from the north east have been given an insight into the spin. EE assured Darlingtons' MP that jobs at the local site were safe. However the truth was that major back office departments were to go. EE stated the job losses were due to duplicate roles. However the truth was the back office roles in Darlington were being outsourced to India. The newspaper also ran a story yesterday of the traffic light system, which EE are denying. As staff pulled the knives out of their backs and woke up the reality of redundancy they realised the truth must be told. Lights, traffic lights, northern lights ... call it what you like the story is obviously not twaddle dear Herbert.
  • Iwas T.
    I was there. The article posted by One of The Damned is spot on and is exactly what happened. People were not informed before the meetings if they were affected, it was an Organisational Structure on a powerpoint presentation pack and you found out your proposed outcome in front off all your colleagues. Not the end of the world, and to be fair, this has been dealt with in exactly the same way as any other reorganisation in the 10 years I have worked for Orange. However they did it, you will always get some that moan about it...the sooner it is resolved and people move on the better.

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