O2 bids to allay axe fears over call centre jobs

MOBILE phone company O2 yesterday tried to allay fears over the long term future of hundreds of jobs in Yorkshire.

It followed claims that the outsourcing firm Capita planned to strip 145 jobs from O2’s Leeds call centre in 2015, when a two-year jobs guarantee from O2 is due to expire, with further heavy cuts planned by Capita at a call centre in South Yorkshire’s Dearne Valley, which provides services to clients including O2.

A spokesman for the Communication Workers’ Union described the reports as “a bombshell for staff”.

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About 3,700 O2 staff at four centres in England and Scotland, including 1,200 at the Arlington Business Centre in Leeds, were told earlier this month that their jobs will transfer to Capita in an outsourcing deal following a big drop in the number of customers contacting O2 by telephone.

An O2 spokesman said: “We have guaranteed the jobs of transferred employees for at least two years. Beyond that timescale, if there is any future business requirement to reduce roles for O2, this will not necessarily result in redundancies, because Capita would actively manage the process, with roles not automatically being filled when people leave and through potential redeployment to other roles within Capita’s strongly-growing customer management business.”

A Capita spokesman said: “The Dearne Valley site is an existing Capita one from which we provide services to a whole range of clients, of which O2 is just one, but it is not part of the newly announced contract. Because the firm reduces the number of people working on a specific contract it doesn’t necessarily mean that redundancies will occur... staff can be redeployed and the company can win new business.”