Vodafone to slash a fifth of Italy workforce, union claims

Vodafone will on Monday present a plan to save costs at its Italian business that will result in the loss of 1,000 jobs, says Italian trade union Fistel CISL.

The Union, which published a statement on the matter on Thursday, claims the telco will put forward a scheme to shed almost a fifth of its workforce, or around 1,000 positions. Unsurprisingly, Fistel CISL is not remotely happy about the situation, blaming not only Vodafone, but the entire Italian telecoms market.

“We are clearly faced with yet another demonstration of a wrong model for the telecommunications sector. Tariff reductions caused by exaggerated competition, lack of industrial vision for a sector that in the rest of Europe continues to be an instigator of the digital transition,” Fistel CISL said, in an Italian language statement.

The union’s approach is to concentrate on retraining employees to cope with ongoing technological change; indeed, it insists there is “no room” either at Vodafone or other companies in the sector for any other approach. Nonetheless, it’s clear it is time to tackle the issue across the industry, from TIM down, the union says.

Incidentally, incumbent TIM incurred the ire of the unions last week when it launched its newly reorganised TIM Enterprise business. Communications workers union SLC CGIL shared its concerns for employment at the telco in no uncertain terms:

“All this while the story of the single network twists and turns more and more on itself every day and, also in the light of current decisions, we are increasingly concerned about the fate of the remaining part of the company, starting with the so-called ‘Consumer’ [unit] which at this point is increasing its risk of becoming a container with many thousands of workers and a highly competitive and unprofitable reference market.”

It is perhaps naïve to believe that the rest of Europe is basking in the warm glow of digital transformation while Italy struggles with competition and the related employment risk. But the fact remains that Italian retail players have come up against some fierce pricing pressure in recent years and it stands to reason that it would take its toll.

Nonetheless, Fistel CISL is sticking to its position on Italy’s plight. “A sector that in Europe still manages to reconcile employment capacity and job quality is shrinking exponentially year on year. It is time to call all parties, starting with the institutions, to their responsibilities. This is the position that we will bring to the table next Monday,” it said, adding that it will immediately start working to share that position with the sector as a whole.

Whatever its cost-cutting plans might be – and it’s safe to say it has plenty that will affect its people to a greater or lesser degree – Vodafone is going to have to work pretty hard to reach any kind of deal with the unions. We could be in for a lengthy period of negotiations.


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  1. Avatar Jayaraman Nagarajan 10/03/2023 @ 1:37 pm

    5G operation is software defined networking replacing hard ware with zero touch operation.
    Italian Union build new skill with software defined network operation.
    New Technology need new skill and union members will succeed in new environment
    Chartered Engineer 5G exposure India

  2. Avatar Antibious Ferrara 13/03/2023 @ 12:57 pm

    Instead of following US policies, European companies continue to follow the track of outsourcing to Asia, neglecting much of the current / future Geo Political environment, just for the sake of easy profit. Results are there: Quality drop; external dependencies; labor cuts; etc.
    Unions should stay foot and defend our interests since our companies dont do it themselves.

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