Telefonica plans to cut up to 4,000 jobs

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MADRID, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Spanish mobile and broadband operator Telefonica plans to cut between 2,000 and 4,000 jobs through voluntary redundancy in the first half of 2022, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The debt-laden company is likely to start negotiations with unions by the end of November, the source said, with redundancy criteria including age and seniority.

“It’s true that a part of the workforce wants these packages. Some people have made their calculations and expect to go by a certain age,” said Diego Gallart, a spokesman for labour union UGT, which represents a majority of Telefonica staff.

Uptake for previous leaving packages has been about 65-70% of those eligible, he said.

“But the destruction of jobs is always bad news, especially in the telecoms sector, where roles are high-paid and high-value – so losing these employees means losing a driver of economic activity in the country,” Gallart added.

Telefonica directly employs 16,000 people in Spain, with nearly 6,000 further employees in associated companies covered by the latest labour covenant. An additional 5,000 people work for Telefonica Tech, a unit dedicated to cloud, AI, data and cyber security services, which is not included in the covenant.

Europe’s third-largest telecoms group, which is grappling with intense competition in an increasingly low-cost Spanish market, has been considering job cuts for months under pressure from investors.

Telefonica would be the third major telecoms group to seek job cuts in Spain after Vodafone and Orange took similar steps earlier this year.

(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman)

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