Vodafone, Idea Cellular shed one-third of the workforce since merger

Vodafone Idea
Vodafone and Idea Cellular, which have merged to become the country’s largest telecom operator, have together shed around 8,000 employees, or close to one-third of the workforce, in the last 17 months ever since the deal was announced.

The newly crowned top telco Vodafone Idea Ltd has an employee count of around 17,000 at its inception, multiple sources in the know told Business Standard after the merger got an all clear last week. At the end of March 2017, when the merger was announced, the total employee count for the two companies stood at around 25,000. As per figures given in the annual reports of the firms, Idea Cellular had 11,784 permanent staff while the number for Vodafone India employees stood at 13,187 at the end of March 2017.

It could not be independently ascertained as to how many employees from each company are part of the new combined entity. All employees who have been enrolled into Vodafone Idea Ltd will be given new joining letters.

Apart from permanent employees, the number of temporary, contractual and off-roll staff of the telcos has also reduced, sources said. Estimates suggest Vodafone had around 15,000-20,000 people working for its outsourced jobs like customer care services and network monitoring etc. Idea Cellular had more than 7,300 temporary or contractual employees till last year. The current numbers of contractual and temporary staff could not be verified.

The companies maintained they have tried to utilise most of the employees in the new scheme of things and that it’s incorrect to suggest thousands have lost their jobs. 

The reduction in number of employees would include people leaving voluntarily as the attrition stood at about 15 to 18 per cent.

Also, since the merger was announced, hiring has been very limited and selective for both the firms. 

“Vodafone Idea has been created combining the best from both Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. It is in the core DNA of both the organizations to treat all people with respect, dignity and embrace everyone in a culture of care. As we have repeatedly stated, all appointments are being made on the basis of 'best person for the job' principle using a fair, equitable and transparent process of selection,” a company spokesperson said in response to a Business Standard query. 

The spokesperson further said employees would benefit from the opportunities that arise from working with a significantly larger operation. “In fact, Vodafone Idea continues to scout the market to induct critical skill sets necessary for building a future fit organisation,” the spokesperson added.

Unlike in the case of Vodafone India, many Idea employees have been absorbed into other Aditya Birla group companies after the merger deal was announced, sources said. Such an option was not available to Vodafone staff. It is learnt that Vodafone had asked its employees a set of questions to assess their utility in the new entity.

Counting Heads
  • Workforce of the merged entity down by 8,000
  • 25,000 Combined employee count at the end of March 2017 
  • 11,784 Idea Cellular's permanent staff at the end of March 2017
  • 13,187 Vodafone India's employees
  • 15,000-20,000 Estimated jobs Vodafone has outsourced 
  • 7,300 Idea Cellular had temporary or contractual employees till last year

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