Vodafone To Slash 375 UK Jobs

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Mobile phone operator Vodafone has announced plans to cut 375 UK jobs in a bid to ‘simplify’ its service

Mobile operator Vodafone has announced plans to cut 375 jobs across the UK as part of a £1 billion cost-cutting scheme. The cuts will mainly affect workers in back-office positions – such as finance, HR and marketing – in a number of locations including its headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.

At the same time, Vodafone said it would recruit 170 new staff in “customer-facing” roles. The company will also select 50 graduates to start in September from more than 3,000 who have applied to its UK university leaver programme.

More customer-focused staff

Matthew Brearley, HR director at Vodafone, explained that the move was intended to bring in more customer-focused staff which would help the company offer an improved and simplified service.

However, the Prospect union condemned Vodafone for a “lack of consultation” and told BBC News it was “disappointed” to learn the news from the media, rather than the company.

“This is a disgraceful way to treat employees,” said union spokesman Steve Thomas, “particularly some very long serving and loyal members of staff who have been with Vodafone from the early days and have made the company a success.”

This is the second time in just over a year that Vodafone staff have faced redundancy, after the firm cut 500 jobs in February 2009. Then in May, Vodafone announced plans to speed up cost cutting, after announcing yearly results which showed pre-tax profits down by 53 percent and large write-downs from its European operations.

“Our £1 billion cost reduction programme is ahead of plan and we continue to explore further ways to reduce cost,” said Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao at the time. “We maintain our tight focus on capital discipline and returns to shareholders.”

Vodafone is not the only tech company to have suffered job cuts since the the economic downturn. Earlier this year, more than 1,000 HP employees at the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) went on strike, after negotiations over pay and job losses collapsed. Around the same time Fujitsu staff were also on strike over planned cuts to jobs and pension schemes. Union Unite got involved, lobbying to end the pay freeze at Fujitsu

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