Mobile phone group Carphone Warehouse has announced that 450 jobs are at risk of redundancy, although the firm said it hoped to redeploy some of the staff.
As part of a “focus on costs and efficiency” programme promised in January, the job losses are likely to be in back-office support roles, rather than front-line sales staff.
A statement said: “Our commitment to the customer remains paramount and we have not placed any store roles at risk.”
It added that following a £1bn investment in the company from US retailer Best Buy, Carphone Warehouse planned to expand across Europe over the next year. It will create 1,000 UK jobs over the next 12 months to help do this.
According to a report in the Guardian, redundancies are likely to include call centre workers, many of whom were taken on two years ago to handle the deluge of customer complaints when the company launched a free broadband offer through its TalkTalk subsidiary, and was overwhelmed by demand. Last month, Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone said the broadband business had become “subdued”.
The Communication Workers Union reacted angrily to the job cuts. Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary, claimed staff had no consultation or prior knowledge about the losses before they were announced.
“This is a shock announcement for Carphone Warehouse staff,” he said. “We now hope that the company will consult the union on implementation of the job losses to minimise the impact on workers.”
In January, Rob Bacon, chief operations officer at Carphone Warehouse Europe, revealed he had no plans to leave the firm, despite DIY store B&Q announcing in December that he was to become its director of customer and employee brand, a newly created position which encompassed HR, following a board restructure.