O2 to axe over 400 as restructure continues

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Unions have been engaged over consultation with retail staff and some indirect functions relating to cuts

O2 is expected to commence a three-month consultation with staff across all aspects of its business to reduce its UK headcount by or around 400, from 13,000.

O2 has consulted with its staff union Prospect-Connect ahead of announcement of the cuts. Those considered at risk were informed this morning. Affected staff will be encouraged to take voluntary redundancy.

Prospect has already written to O2 management staff informing them of O2’s plans and said it will look to avoid any compulsory redundancies and encourage O2 to put in place a ‘robust’ and a ‘supportive’ redeployment process.

Prospect has also encouraged staff who feel they are being managed inappropriately or unfairly during the three month consultation to get in touch to get support from its national consultations.

It is also encouraging O2 staff who are not yet signed up to its union to do so by February 1 to allow them future support. Details on non-senior positions within the business which will be affected are yet to be announced to staff, Mobile News understands. No staff within its technology departments are expected to face redundancy.

O2 had previously indicated retail staff would not be significantly affected, but Mobile News understands all retail staff were asked to attend an emergency meeting in their store on today (January 14) to be informed of the changes. Stores have been instructed to open one hour late for the meeting.

O2, however, has confirmed it will increase the number of its in-store technical specialist ‘Guru’ staff from 150 at present to around 400, effectively one per store this year. Other cuts are expected to be made within the indirect channel aspect of the business with a number of CBM’s understood to be at risk.

An email from Prospect said: “The union has received a presentation from various parts of the business about their thoughts on the approach and we have raised a number of initial challenges to the approach being adopted. Our main objective on behalf of our members will be to avoid compulsory redundancy.”

An O2 spokesperson said: “We are streamlining our management structure so that we can invest more in the experience we deliver to our customers. We do expect some redundancies and have been consulting with all our representative bodies to discuss the impact of these changes. For those people affected we will be looking at redeployment into other roles or discretionary voluntary redundancy. We will do everything we can to avoid any compulsory redundancies.”

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