Virgin Media in a red background. In the forefront, a phone shows the O2 logo.

Virgin Media 02 to cut up to 2,000 jobs by December

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The company has revealed its plans to make as much as 12 per cent of its total workforce redundant by the end of the year.

Mobile operator Virgin Media O2 is to slash up to 2,000 UK jobs by the end of this year, in the first large-scale round of layoffs the company has overseen since its creation in 2021. 

The group said on Tuesday 25 July that it had briefed employee unions and representative groups on its proposals. The redundancies will include 800 role reductions that were already announced, the BBC has reported.

“As we continue to integrate and transform as a company, we are currently consulting on proposals to simplify our operating model to better deliver for customers, which will see a reduction in some roles this year,” the company said. “While we know any period of change can be difficult, we are committed to supporting all of our people.”

The firm added it was supporting its staff as it has “open and honest conversations” about its future.

The mobile operator came together in 2021 through a merger between telecommunications companies O2 and Virgin Media, owned by US-listed Liberty Group and Spain’s Telefonica, respectively. The deal left the combined company carrying £20.2bn of debt and seeking £350m of annual cost savings.

At the time, Virgin Media O2 said it expected to spend £700m on “integration costs” over four years to get rid of duplicated infrastructure and jobs. 

Unions were reportedly notified in June that 800-2,000 jobs were at risk. In the end, the firm decided to go ahead with cutting the maximum amount of jobs, amounting to more than a tenth of the operator’s workforce.

The news comes only two months after redundancies announcements from two of the company’s rivals in the mobile sector, BT and Vodafone. 

In May, BT revealed it would shed up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade, mostly in the UK. BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen also said the company plans to rely on a “much smaller workforce” and digitise its processes, with around 10,000 jobs in customer services being replaced by technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

The announcement followed similar news from Vodafone boss Margherita Della Valle, who said the firm plans to slash 11,000 jobs across the group over the next three years in order to address its poor performance. 

Over the past year, a growing list of tech firms has collectively shed over 100,000 jobs as companies react to unexpected financial challenges and contractions in the global economy in the post-pandemic world.

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