Union ‘shocked and angry’ at O2 franchise plan


The Communication Workers Union says O2 is “playing poker” with its members’ livelihoods by planing to franchise 82 of its retail stores

A union representing the interests of staff in the telecoms sector has said it’s members are shocked and angry to learn O2 have plans to franchise 82 of its 464 retail stores.

The operator has a total of 462 shops across the UK, 202 of which will now be franchise-owned.

Both new and existing staff will be considered for the ownership position, with up to £50,000 of investment required. O2 expects the process of finding suitable franchise owners to take up to nine months.

O2 said retail jobs will not be affected, but the Communication Workers Union (CWU) deputy general secretary Andy Kerr argues O2 was playing poker with its members’ livelihoods in this franchising move which will destabilise the whole retail network, not just the 82 affected by today’s announcements.

Kerr said: “Staff will be wondering whether they have a job and what their future holds as they enter the busy pre-Christmas shopping period.

“O2 shop workers are the lowest paid staff in the company and are the most vulnerable. Not only will staff feel shocked by this decision but we believe O2 is taking a huge risk by moving into this model at this time.

“The company is simply hoping that appropriate candidates will come forward as franchisees in response to their advert instead of directly managing their brand and high street sales.”