Cantillon: betting group needs a win-win on job cuts

Paddy Power Betfair has started telling staff of plans to cut 650 from workforce of 7,200

Paddy Power Betfair was created in February when the two companies merged. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Paddy Power Betfair was created in February when the two companies merged. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

 

It was less question of “if” and more one of “how many” when it came to Paddy Power Betfair’s plans to cut jobs. The group, created in February when the two companies merged, has begun telling staff about its plans to cut 650 from its 7,200-strong workforce.

While it did not reveal actual numbers, the group did acknowledge all along that it would cut jobs in cases where two people were doing the same thing once the merger was complete.

It is likely that about 300 of the total will be lost in Ireland while 350 jobs will go in the UK.

It is thought that in the case of those jobs that are going here, where the group employs 2,875, the process could be relatively easy.

The group is offering a reasonably generous redundancy package, four weeks a year on top of the statutory entitlement.

At the same time there is a strong demand for the skills possessed by many of those likely to go. So there is a possibility that many will volunteer to go.

Nonetheless, it is the first real test for chief executive Breon Corcoran and his newly merged management team. Cutting jobs is not easy. It might be good news for shareholders, but staff do not always tend to see it that way.

Even in circumstances where the jobs market is relatively benign, and where the group is likely to benefit in the long term and could end up employing more people than it does now, there is still plenty of scope for things to go wrong.

Paddy Power Betfair hopes to have worked through both the redundancy process and moving staff into one office in Dublin, and one in London, by August. It will also be publishing interim results around that time.

At that point it should be able to provide shareholders and the markets with details on how the redundancy programme is progressing, the cost and the savings that will result.

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