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Vodafone Spain Faces Backlash Over Planned Job Cuts

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A major Spanish trade union has strongly opposed Vodafone Spain’s decision to cut over 1,000 jobs, prompting calls for strike action. The Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) has vocally criticized the job cuts, blaming the company, the Spanish government, and regulatory environment for the situation.

According to local reports, UGT has scheduled two full days of strikes on July 9 and 11, alongside several partial strikes between July 2 and 17. These strikes are aimed at pushing Vodafone Spain, now owned by Zegona Communications, to reconsider its layoff plans. Zegona acquired Vodafone Spain in a €5 billion deal last month, retaining the Vodafone brand through a licensing agreement.

Vodafone Spain announced plans to lay off 1,198 employees, over a third of its workforce, citing economic and organizational challenges. However, UGT contends that Zegona was aware of Vodafone’s financial situation before the acquisition and is using it as a pretext to reduce costs.

UGT has questioned whether Vodafone adequately communicated its need for an ERE, a Spanish redundancy procedure, to the government. The union criticized the government’s passive approval of the sale, highlighting the potential negative impact on employment. UGT argued that Vodafone’s job cuts contradict its goal to maintain and improve network quality, calling it an oxymoron.

The union also highlighted the broader regulatory issues affecting Spain’s telecommunications sector, which it believes have led to job losses in an industry known for providing well-paid, skilled positions. UGT criticized Vodafone’s severance package, which offers 24 days’ salary per year worked, spread over 14 monthly payments, as insufficient.

UGT categorically rejects the proposed collective dismissal and urges Vodafone to consider a voluntary redundancy package instead. With strike actions looming and a mid-July deadline to reach an agreement, the situation presents a challenging start for Vodafone’s new ownership under Zegona.

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