Vodafone will seek to cut 130 staff after consultation


VODAFONE will seek to cut its staff numbers by 130 following a review of its business.

The company told its 1,200-strong workforce about the plan yesterday and launched a consultation with employees and trades union.

The consultation will finish at the end of next month, with Vodafone hopeful of achieving its staff-reduction target through a mix of voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

The move comes a week after the resolution of a pay claim brought to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) by Vodafone staff union, the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

The LRC recommended that Vodafone pay a portion of its staff a pay increase next year and in 2012, while the remainder would be eligible for salary reviews in 2011. In return, the CWU agreed to engage with Vodafone on changes within the company, which has come under some pressure from reduced consumer spending.

Francesco Bianco, human resources director at Vodafone Ireland said the job cuts would help the firm to operate more efficiently.

“We believe that these reductions can be achieved through voluntary redundancy and early retirement and remain committed to engaging with our employees and providing as much help and support as is necessary throughout this process,” Mr Bianco said.

The job loss news was balanced yesterday by confirmation that US insurer UnitedHealth would create 200 new positions in Donegal and that technology group PFH would add 80 jobs between Dublin and Cork.

UnitedHealth is expanding in Letterkenny, with the support of IDA Ireland.

The Minneapolis-based health insurance group already employs 340 in IT and medical claims processing at its Letterkenny site. The 200 new positions will be split evenly between IT technicians and medical claims associates.

The company has more than 70 million customers in the US.

Separately, PFH said its job creation plans signalled an “aggressive growth strategy”, with 25 new recruits to be in place by the end of this year, and the remainder by the middle of next year.

The jobs will include product development, engineering, sales and marketing, financial and administrative roles.

PFH, which is owned by its founder and managing director Paul Hourican, expanded with the purchase of Siemens Enterprise Communications in May. The enlarged group has a turnover of €36 million.

The leisure sector also received a jobs boost yesterday, with the opening of the Gibson Hotel by Choice Hotels at The Point Village in Dublin.

The 252-room Gibson will employ 120 staff and is set to generate €5 million per year in wages. Choice, led by Frankie Whelehan, already operates eight Irish hotels, including Carton House in Kildare and the Clarion chain, and one in the UK.