Unions pour scorn on Vodafone layoffs

As Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin downplays the loss of 400 jobs, the unions hit back

The "dislocation" of 400 Vodafone employees has received a frosty response from the Communication Workers' Union (CWU).

"It is a sad day for all those hardworking staff in Newbury — particularly the 400 who now face redundancy despite working for a company whose group revenues for the last financial year grew 7.5 percent," said Jeannie Drake, the union's deputy general secretary, in a statement on Tuesday.

"For the chief executive to say that the company has met or exceeded expectations, outperformed its competitors and rewarded share holders with over £10bn last year, and then in the same breath announces significant job losses is appalling," Drake said. "Such a mixed announcement shows no consideration or respect for the workforce at all."

Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin told a press conference on Tuesday that "there may be dislocations, but we're not as focused on the job losses as we are on cost reduction". He went on to describe the company's employee policies as "friendly". 

The job cuts were announced shortly after Vodafone posted record losses of more than £14bn, and came as part of a raft of cost-saving measures. 

These included the outsourcing of the company's IT application development and maintenance activities, as well as the centralisation of its data centres and network supply chain management activities. 

Shareholders were placated with a £9bn share return scheme, two-thirds of which was derived from the sale of Vodafone's Japanese business.

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