O2 questions CWU redundancy claims as union threatens action

Mobile operator O2 questions Communication Workers Union (CWU) claim of 600 redundancies in outsourcing deal with Capita

O2 has questioned a claim made by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that there will be up to 600 redundancies as part of the mobile operator's customer services outsourcing deal with Capita.

Following Capita’s announcement that it had won a ten-year deal to manage and digitise O2’s customer services, the CWU reported that up to 600 O2 staff will be made redundant while over 3,000 will transfer to Capita.

An O2 spokesman said: "It’s worth noting that we’ve no idea where the CWU have got the figure of 600 jobs being made redundant.

"We are offering all those people affected by the change the opportunity to apply for Discretionary Voluntary Redundancy [DVR]. I’m not aware of the numbers as we simply don’t know what response we will get on that. 

"There are no compulsory redundancies, so if no-one applied for DVR, then everyone would move across to Capita.”

O2 said 3,700 staff will transfer to Capita. Their transfer will see no change to where they work. 

“Their terms and conditions (such as their salary) will be protected," said the spokesman. 

"The deal also offers them a guarantee of job security for two years, something we alone as Telefonica UK could never offer. Capita is a trusted, proven and growing provider in customer contact management and will offer opportunities for those staff to continue to grow their career in customer service.”

The CWU told Computer Weekly that, in a meeting, it was told there would be between 500 and 600 voluntary redundancies.

Last month, when talk of O2’s plan to outsource call centres first emerged, the CWU said it would take action if stories about O2 transferring jobs to Capita, as part of an outsourcing deal, were true.

Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, 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.

"We have been presented with a fait accompli. There has not been – and apparently won't be – any meaningful negotiation or opportunity to influence the terms of transfer or negotiate on behalf of our members. We've got no guarantees on the stability of jobs and terms and conditions, all we've been told is that this will be up to Capita. That's not much to cling to.

"Given the gravity of this situation for our members we cannot rule out industrial action."

According to O2, as part of the agreement with Capita, it is investing £31m in its digital service channels including Web Chat, Social Media, Guru TV and MyO2 service which allows customers to check their account information and bills online. 





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