Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Vodafone announces 500 job cuts

Vodafone call centre, Birmingham
Vodafone said it needed to cut costs in order to compete effectively

Mobile phone operator Vodafone has announced plans to cut about 500 jobs in the UK in an effort to reduce costs.

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company by income, is shedding jobs as part of previously-announced plans for 1bn ($1.4bn) of cost cuts.

Vodafone, which employs 10,000 workers in the UK, faces rising raw material prices and increasing competition.

The 500 job losses include 170 posts at Vodafone's head office in Newbury, Berkshire, in back-office type roles.

All the group's operations are set to be affected, including a reorganisation of some of its call centres.

Vodafone has call centres and offices in Newark, Banbury, Theale, Trowbridge, London, Warrington, Stoke-on-Trent and Hayes.

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"Vodafone UK has today announced reductions to its operating costs in order for it to compete more effectively in the UK market," the company said.

"As customers look for best value in their mobile services, Vodafone intends to reduce its cost base whilst continuing to invest in new products and services to meet changing customer needs."

Vodafone said it did not intend to close any stores, but planned to cut costs by offering more online services, as it believed its 19 million UK customers wanted a greater focus on value for money.

It said staff were now being informed about the details of the job cuts.

'Difficult time'

Trade union Connect, which represents workers in the communications sector, said it was calling on Vodafone to ensure that all the job losses were voluntary.

"We will be working very closely with the company to ensure that our members are treated with respect during this difficult time and that a full and proper process of consultation is carried out," said Connect national officer Steve Thomas.

Vodafone said in November last year that it expected to reduce its worldwide operating costs by 1bn a year by 2011.

Earlier this month, the firm reported revenue of 10.47bn for the last three months of 2008, up 14.3% on the same period a year ago, and raised its forecast for full-year revenues after benefiting from the weaker pound.

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