O2 store managers are most at risk by store closures and the management restructure, according to the Communication Workers Union.
O2 announced earlier this month that it is to close 40 stores across the country. It was reported that 250 staff are at risk due to the closures. The retailer said it would attempt to relocate staff to other stores where possible and will be creating 250 technology specialist customer service advisors roles.
A spokeswoman for the Communication Workers Union said: “It seems we’re looking at very few redundancies for store staff under managerial level. A number of the stores to be closed have vacancies and employ temporary agency staff, not directly employed by O2, will go.”
She added: “It is serious in management levels and quite a few store managers have contacted us directly and we’ve taken them on.”
O2 plans to change managerial titles. Under the changes sales advisors will become advisors and area managers will be called area leaders, while divisional managers will be named divisional leaders.
As a result of this management restructure, 72 assistant branch manager roles, one in each store with low footfall, will cease to exist. The 72 stores will be led by one store leader, with no assistant.
The senior branch manager role will cease to exist in O2 stores. 41 senior branch manager will be affected, with area leaders holding responsibility for their duties.
A briefing issued by the Communication Workers Union said: “O2 is seeking to redeploy as many permanent employees as possible into stores within reasonable traveling distance. O2 will be embarking on an immediate preference exercise amongst the 110 sales advisors to assess how the business can support them in obtaining a suitable alternative role.’ The acceptable travelling distance for sales advisors will be 45 minutes.
A spokesman for O2 said: “We will do everything we can to avoid any compulsory redundancies with redeployment. We can’t promise there will be no redundancies. We expect the net effect of people leaving the retail business to be neutral.”
O2 is also considering outsourcing its IT division and is in consultation with staff about this. “It won’t be clear until the beginning of April what will happen with IT until the consultation finishes in April. Any redundancies that happen won’t be radical and we will attempt to avoid any compulsory redundancies.” If IT is outsourced, staff will be able to re-apply for their roles in the new company and voluntary redundacy will be an option.
O2 has named the 40 stores that are to be closed. The list is below:
Bristol - The Galleries
Bromley - High Street
Chelmsford - The Meadows
Gateshead - Galleria
Glasgow - 202 Sauchiehall Street
Guildford - Friary Centre
London - Fenchurch Street
London - Kensington Arcade
Middlesbrough - Hill Street
Peterborough - Catherdal Square
Preston - 43 Fishergate
Ryde - IOW
Southport - Lord Street
Sutton in Ashfield