The communication workers union (CWU) said the decision is a “betrayal” of staff trust and that it may take industrial action
O2 has announced it will outsource its call centre staff to support service provider Capita, a decision the communication workers union (CWU) has called “gravely concerning”.
The decision will affect 3,700 jobs across centres in Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook.
O2 said the terms and conditions of employment, including salaries, will remain the same and the people affected will not have to move.
The operators said that under the deal, jobs are secured for two years, “something we alone as Telefonica UK could never offer”.
However, the CWU claims as many as 600 people could lose their jobs, and has asked O2 to reconsider.
It has called O2’s decision a “betrayal” and said it may take industrial action.
CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “People are being dispensed with in a cold accountancy exercise designed to save money. This is a betrayal of the staff who have built this company and made it successful.
“We’re gravely concerned about the future of these jobs as how will savings be made if not through attacks on jobs and terms and conditions? These are decent jobs paying around £3 an hour more than other Capita call centre staff. A cut in pay would be bad news for the local economy in these areas and a disaster for families.
“Given the gravity of this situation for our members we cannot rule out industrial action.”
O2 said its decision was due to customer behaviour and expectations changing, meaning it had to provide a “broader and more flexible way” of interacting with the company.
The operator said it receives one million fewer calls to customer services compared to two years ago, but has seen a “significant increase” in customers contacting it via digital means such as web chat and social media.
It is investing £31 million to enhance its digital service channels (which includes web chat, social media, Guru TV and its MyO2 service), and £19 million to transform its stores to mirror O2’s online shopping experience.