O2 ends job freeze but staff claim tough time

Written by: Paul Withers
O2 ends job freeze but staff claim tough time

O2 staff claim they are under-resourced after recruitment freeze, which employer last week finally lifted

O2 last week ended its recruitment freeze, in place since June, which will help stores that have seen staff leave and been unable to replace them.

Stores have for several months been required to seek suppport from other outlets for cover.

O2 had placed a recruitment ban in its retail stores in April last year,  reducing staff numbers by around 300 as a result, Mobile News undestands.

However it said in March this year it would recruit 300 additional staff to make up numbers.

But staff contacted Mobile News last week to claim O2 has made changes to the way it calculates the number of staff working hours allocated to each store.

They suggested some busier stores, despite record footfall, have had their hours reduced by the equivalent of three full-time staff.

At the same time, staff in quieter stores have been allowed additional man hours.

Staff also said performance targets have become difficult to attain because of focus on the iPhone 4, for which they receive no commission.

Although O2 continues to offer ‘spirit points’ on other handsets, sales of the iPhone dominate, said staff.

Attachment ratios have suffered also, as iPhone insurance is relatively expensive and Apple has issued free cases because of iPhone 4 signal problems.

O2 staff are required to sell accessories with 25 per cent of contract sales to hit targets.

Waiting times are affecting their customer revies of their performances also, which go towards their bonus pay.

O2 was unavailable for comment at press.

But O2 last week agreed a 2.5 per cent pay rise with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents O2 staff in non management positions.

The CWU is encouraging its 4,000 members to accept the offer, which will grow a further 2.75 per cent.

O2 is also to make changes to staff pay progression, which the CWU had requested.

An email from O2 HR said: “We’ve agreed a two-year pay deal with the CWU covering 2010 and 2011.

“The CWU will be strongly recommending its members accept the deal in a forthcoming ballot.

“We were pleased to broaden the scope to a two year deal as this gives everyone greater stability and certainty around pay.

“Economic uncertainty still surrounds us and as a business we still face significant challenges.

“With clarity around pay we can now plan for whatever the economy throws at us, and make firm commitments to the investment we need to make in order to protect our share of the core mobile market and continue to grow.”

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