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O2 hits back at union criticism over redundancies

O2 has released pricing details for its 4G service due to launch on August 29, 2013

UK operator Telefónica O2 has hit back at the Communication Workers Union’s (CWU) criticisms of its plans to make 1,000 employees redundant and transfer around 2,500 staff to outsourcing firm Capita.

The operator told Telecoms.com that the deal with Capita means that employees being transferred to the outsourcing firm will see no change to where they work or their terms and conditions while their salary will be protected.

O2 added that Capita will offer employees a guarantee of job security for two years, which is something that the operator could never commit to itself.

The operator said that one of the drivers behind the deal is that it is seeing a significant decline in the numbers of customers contacting it by phone; O2 now takes one million fewer calls from customers per month than it did two years ago, a spokesperson said, claiming it has only 65 per cent occupancy in its call centres. Customers are instead increasingly relying on social media and online customer care portals to contact the firm.

“By making this decision now, we have been able to secure the best outcome for our people,” the spokesperson said.

O2 added that as part of the deal it also offered discretionary voluntary redundancy to offer employees the opportunity to consider their options and choose the path which suited their personal circumstances.

“These are not compulsory redundancies. They relate to our well-publicised commitment of offering discretionary voluntary redundancy, the terms of which have proved an attractive option for a number of people expressing a wish to leave and has allowed them the opportunity to choose the path which suited their personal circumstances,” the spokesperson said. “We’re now going through the final stages of letting those who applied know what the next steps are.”

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