11 Mar 2019

Hundreds of Vodafone staff opting for voluntary redundancy - Union

5:54 pm on 11 March 2019

Unite Union believes at least 200 Vodafone staff have expressed interest in taking voluntary redundancy - and some will be out the door by the end of the month.

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Vodafone announced late last year a review of its business model. Photo: 123rf.com

Vodafone NZ said it had offered redundancy to about 2000 employees in an effort to get back in healthy financial shape and prepare for a sharemarket listing.

Vodafone announced late last year a review of the business from top to toe - new chief executive Jason Paris is tasked with getting the company in shape for an IPO, as early as next year.

The Unite Union represents around 60 contact centre workers.

Spokesperson Shirley Wang said she understood at least 200 workers have already expressed interest in voluntary redundancy.

She said some have heard they'll be going in a few weeks.

"It started off as an expression of interest - but turned into a voluntary redundancy - and turned into everyone who has expressed interest is actually given the offer of redundancy.

"Well, they haven't left the building, but they have already received a letter that has their final date on it... it depends where they work - some peoples' last day is actually the end of the month," she said.

Ms Wang said Vodafone had not been upfront with the union about its future plans.

She was not sure how many of the 2700 employees may lose their jobs.

"I don't know at this point - these are all numbers we are trying to ask the company - which they're refusing to share," she said.

Vodafone refused to be interviewed today.

However, in a statement, the company said it asked all staff - excluding 600 front-line call centre and retail workers - to express interest in voluntary redundancy.

Vodafone said the process was still ongoing - and it was looking to reduce costs in many ways, including staff numbers.

Telecommunications Users' Association chief executive Craig Young said Vodafone was ripe for a restructure - after its failed bid to team-up with Sky Television.

"We saw Spark go through this a couple of years ago and they changed the way they work to being more agile," he said.

Mr Young said the market was competitive - with new players eyeing Vodafone's customers.

"So they need to have a look around and see what is it that we can offer New Zealanders that is unique for us," he said.

Vodafone planned to inform staff about the company's new structure by the end of the month.