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O2 redundancy message branded ‘thoughtless and cruel’ by CWU

A pre-Christmas message to O2 staff from company CEO Mark Evans warned the company planned to part ways with up to 5% of its employees, according to the Communication Workers Union.

No details about what, where, when or whom the cuts would affect were given until 10 January, leading the CWU to brand the uncertainty of the announcement ‘thoughtless and cruel’, with the Union’s assistant secretary Sally Bridge adding that it was ‘deeply offensive’ and broke ‘a fundamental unwritten rule’ by leaving staff anxious about their future over the Christmas period. The union also alleges that when they queried O2, the operator responded that an employee survey revealed that staff wanted management to be ‘as open and transparent as possible.’

The new announcement made on 10 January outlined plans to place 160 staff ‘at risk’ of redundancy, with staff affected working in non customer facing positions in ‘customer service and transformation, service management, business operations, sales, operations network and some PA roles.

'Competitive market'

A statement from Telefonica UK explained their reasoning for the move, stating: 'We operate in an extremely competitive market and continually review and improve our organisational structure. This ensures we remain efficient while delivering great service for our customers.'

The staff are affected are currently undergoing ‘individual consultation meetings’ where they will find out if their role is ‘at risk’, whether they’ve already been provisionally selected for redundancy, or whether they are to have their role transferred.

The CWU has stated that of the 160 roles, over 30% will be made redundant, with all ‘at risk’ able to apply for voluntary redundancy, though the company retains the right to deny applications. The company gave ‘developments in the mobile industry’ and ‘technological advance’ as the reasons for the job losses, according to the Union.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.