MADRID Jan 30 Mobile phone operator Vodafone
plans to dismiss 650 staff in its Spanish division,
labour unions said on Wednesday, lower than the cuts of up to
1,000 initially expected.
The London-listed company is in talks with unions to reduce
its staff of around 4,000 in Spain, where it is losing out to
cheaper competitors such as Yoigo and "virtual" mobile
operators which sell on bandwidth rented from other operators.
"The company made clear that the dismissal plan will go
ahead with or without an agreement," unions said in a statement
after a meeting with Vodafone on Tuesday.
Vodafone said it could not make any comment until talks
finish on Feb. 14.
Vodafone wrote down the value of its businesses in Spain and
Italy by 5.9 billion pounds ($9.3 billion) in November, saying
economic weakness and unemployment had led to service revenue
dropping 11 percent in Spain in the nine months through
Vodafone followed incumbent Telefonica's lead and
scrapped smartphone subsidies in April, then decided to bring
them back in November after losing over 1 million mobile
connections, according to data from Spain's telecoms watchdog.
Vodafone entered into negotiations with unions earlier this
month, with unions initially expecting up to 1,000 jobs, or a
quarter of the workforce, to go.
As well as dismissing 650 workers, Vodafone wants to
outsource 130 jobs and change conditions, including salary and
hours, for 120 more, unions said.
Many large Spanish companies have laid off workers to save
costs during the recession, pushing the unemployment rate to 26
Telefonica said in 2011 it would cut 6,500 jobs from its
domestic business over three years, while airline Iberia
is in talks with unions to axe around 4,500 posts.