Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hundreds Unfairly Dismissed in Vodafone’s Secret Sackings

The dust is settling on last Tuesdays announcement by Vodafone that 450 Newbury based staff would be made redundant. In a feat of news management that Alastair Campbell would have been proud of the company took the opportunity to further reduce staffing levels by summarily dismissing hundreds throughout the UK in secret.

Employees were dragged into offices and told their employment had been terminated before been stripped of their mobile phone, company badge, and were then escorted from the premises.

Many of those who were targeted were the kind of people who lived and breathed Vodafone. Cut them in half and they would bleed red. But this would be far too humane for the company.

This was not part of any disciplinary process, no right of appeal or accompaniment was granted and no redundancy payment was forthcoming. Not only is this action contrary to Vodafone’s own documented policy, it is against UK employment law. This is acknowledged by the company as they offered small cash incentives to the individuals in return for signing an agreement not to take the company to an employment tribunal, or speak out about the way they have been treated.

Vodafone have demonstrated that they do not think that employment law applies to them. They also think they can get away with acting in this way without people finding out. There has been no communications to staff suggesting an explanation of this behaviour. Workers do speak each other and it was inevitable that it would only take a short time before it became clear that these sacking were systematic.

A culture of fear has been created.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Reorganisation and Job Losses in Regional Operations

Following Vodafone’s communication yesterday about job cuts in “Head Office”, Connect has learned that a reorganisation is also proposed in Regional Operations and we will be se
seeking an early meeting with the company to understand the implications of this.

At the same time we are aware that a number of individuals have been impacted directly in Regional Operations. Those 'at risk' of redundancy will have now been individually informed.

Members may also be aware that across the business there appear to have been a number of dismissals not for the purposes of redundancy timed to coincide with these 'at risk' announcements. Connect has made it clear to the company that this is completely unacceptable and will be raising this in the strongest terms in the discussions within the RO bargaining unit.

As the recognised union for Regional Ops Connect will meet to kick off a meaningful consultation process with the company at the earliest opportunity. In doing so we will need to represent the views of our members. If you are member in RO please contact one of your Connect representatives with your comments.

For a communications company Vodafone's reputation and record in situations such as these has in the past not been good. Connect and our members in Regional Operations will be working together to ensure that meaningful consultation with the aim of reaching agreement between the union and the company is at the heart of what we do over the coming weeks. In doing so we will challenge Vodafone to listen, engage and deliver a favorable employee experience even in a difficult situation such as this.

If you have any queries or comments please contact one of your Connect representatives or email or call our Helpdesk on 020 8971 6060.

We have received a number of applications for union membership around these announcements, so you may wish to share this with a colleague and suggest that they visit if they are not yet a member.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Vodafone Hit Staff with Massive Round of Redundancies and Sackings

The company have announced today that 450 people, mainly in Newbury based “back office” roles will be made redundant. More sinisterly a number of people have been told that due to “performance issues” their employment has been terminated. Given the timing this is clearly a cheaper way reducing both head count and reducing the headline figure.

Connect members in Vodafone are disgusted with the way in which the company is now treating its staff. Sadly we realised a few years ago that the company now sees its workers as little more than a commodity. For all the lip service given to “employee experience” actions prove that this is not a company that cares. Today we see a new low with the company treating staff with contempt.

Whilst the company have also announced that they will be recruiting for new retail stores and a call centre in Stoke, these new roles will be lower paid. With 10% of the already overstretched support staff axed who will support the shiny new data services that the company will sell, who will design the next Vodafone Live or 3G broadband?

Vodafone’s actions today demonstrate why we need to be part of a strong union. Individually Vodafone workers are an easy target, when we stand collectively we are stronger.

Any Connect member involved should contact their rep or the Connect helpdesk for advice as soon as possible. If you haven’t yet joined Connect stand together with us and join today.

Click here to join online or Call 020 8971 6000

Friday, 14 March 2008

Connect and Vodafone open pay talks in Regional Operations North and South

We have met with the company to kick off pay negotiations for 2008.

These talks will cover all employees who are covered by Connect and Vodafone's Recognition Agreement in Regional Operations North and South.

Your Connect reps have scheduled a series of meetings with the company to work towards negotiating an acceptable offer. As you would expect in doing so we clearly need to be confident that any proposals deliver on the issues of importance to our members in the unit. Subject to how negotiations develop our intention is to work towards the usual timescales for pay review implementation (effective from 1 July 2008).

Thank you to the many members who took part in the recent Connect pay survey and contacted us to express your opinions and expectations. The views expressed on the shortcomings of the 2007 pay review will inform our approach in seeking to negotiate an increase in the pay bill for 2008 that enables members to see the company address the key concerns around the negative impact of Global Banding, for example.

We will keep members up to date with developments and give members the final say on negotiations through a ballot.

Please note that we will be unable to ballot people who are not Connect members on any proposals. If you have any colleagues who are not yet members it would be a good time for them to join to have a say in their pay review. Please ask them to visit