Voda Ireland redundancy warning


The Irish Communications Workers Union (CWU) said Vodafone Ireland will struggle to persuade 10 per cent of staff to take voluntary redundancy because the job market has contracted with the economy.

Vodafone Ireland is to enter discussions with employees shortly in a bid to convince 10 per cent of them to take voluntary redundancy.

It announced it was seeking 150 voluntary redundancies from its 1,500-strong employee base in Ireland last month.

Irish CWU deputy general secretary Terry Delaney said the CWU had met with Vodafone Ireland before Christmas and that employee forums are set to take place to discuss the impact of redundancies on various departments. More serious discussions are expected within the coming weeks, said Delaney.

He warned: “Before, people were willing to take a voluntary package knowing they would find new employment soon. Now people are reluctant because there are fewer jobs out there.”

Vodafone said the move was a country initiative and not part of wider group cost-cutting activity, announced by chief executive Vittorio Colao in November.

Vodafone Ireland’s customer numbers have risen to 2.23 million in Ireland, although ARPU has decreased.

It said in a statement: “Vodafone Ireland has commenced an organisational review of its operations in order to compete effectively in an increasingly challenging economic environment.

“The company is committed to working with the unions and employees throughout this period.”

Meanwhile, O2 Ireland and Meteor said they have no staff redundancies scheduled for 2009.

O2 Ireland made 45 redundancies in 2007 and outsourced its IT department, with 215 employees moving to IBM in July last year. Part of O2 Ireland’s network services will also be outsourced to BT Ireland at the end of this month.

“We’re coming to the end of these major cost cutting exercises which have been an important step in readying the business to deal with the global economic situation,” an O2 spokesman said.

A Meteor spokeswoman said its 3G network was being launched in the next few weeks so all current roles were needed.

“We are looking at our costs and how we can work most efficiently, and looking at our corporate responsibility and environmental initiatives, so we have a lot going on at the moment,” she said.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) confirmed last week it had discussed the prospect of redundancies with both parties in light of job cuts at Vodafone Ireland.

“It will depend on the extent of the economic downturn. A lot of migrants are returning home and handing back their mobile phones,” said the CWU.