Telia is Norway’s second largest telecommunications group with around 2,200 employees.
On Monday morning, the employees in the group were informed at a general meeting in Oslo that Telia must reduce the number of employees.
The background must be, among other things, uncertain economic times, changed customer behavior and higher costs.
In particular, increased electricity costs, higher employer’s tax and VAT on news broadcasts have a negative impact on Telia.
Leader of EL and the IT club in Telia, Merethe Øverland Shukla, tells FriFagbevegelse that the trade unions have been informed about the plans for downsizing since November last year and that the figure was initially higher than the 70 that is now being discussed, but that they got adjusted the number down.
Club leader in Telia, Merethe Øverland Shukla.
Øverland Shukla is critical of the fact that the trade union has so far not been given access to name lists or any overview of which of their members the downsizing will apply to.
– We won’t know that either until the employees possibly contact us, she says.
The club, which is part of the IKT Bransjens Fagforening, is now considering whether they want to submit the matter for organizational consideration in EL and IT Forbundet to, if necessary, turn it into a dispute case for the above-mentioned reason.
Not seniority, but need
The company says that they will not follow the seniority principle, or social conditions in connection with the downsizing, but the company’s needs, which Øverland Shukla is also critical of.
– I am going to send a complaint about this, she says.
The club manager says she will try to assist members in a difficult time in the future.
– My job will be to support and be a good colleague for those who may be affected.
Øverland Shukla says Telia offers good severance packages, but that the packages will naturally be best for those who are already most attractive on the labor market.
– It is clear that older workers, perhaps with debts and obligations, are more worried about whether they will be able to go to a new job than those in younger age groups, explains the club leader.
– Several employees and also our members who are now approaching 60 will be affected, she believes.
– Then it’s not that easy.
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– Several are EL and IT people
Telia experienced two good financial years in 2020 and 2021 in connection with the pandemic, when many people demanded digital services, TV and broadband services for people who had to work from home.
In April last year, however, there was a downsizing that included around 30 employees.
Øverland Shukla expects that among the 70 who are now relevant there will be several EL and IT members.
The EL and IT club in Telia has around 160 members and, in connection with the downsizing, has sent out a letter to all of them.
Øverland Shukla says she has received great assistance along the way from the head of the ICT Industry Trade Union, Esben Smistad and the head of the district, Trine Hardy, who herself has a background from Telia and Get, which was acquired by Telia back in 2019.
Telia: – Difficult decision
Information manager at Telia, Norway, Daniel Barhom, responds by email to questions FriFagbevegelse asked about the layoffs earlier today.
– Why are you downsizing now?
– It is true that we unfortunately have to downsize around 70 of today’s permanent employees in order to ensure our competitiveness going forward. The reason for the downsizing, which affects all parts of Telia Norge, is uncertain economic times, changed customer behavior and higher costs.
Daniel Barhom, information manager at Telia Norge
– Who are these 70 employees, are they new or old jobs?
– It is a difficult decision to cut jobs, and we understand very well that this is difficult for many talented colleagues who have worked hard for Telia. We will seek to solve the downsizing of permanent employees by offering severance packages that will ensure financial security for those affected and career advice to quickly find a new job. We have also had a good dialogue with the shop stewards in this process.
– Could there be more layoffs in the near future?
– As of today, there are no plans for further downsizing, says Barhom.
2023, a turbulent year
Stein-Erik Vellan, CEO of Telia Norge, emphasizes to DN that 2023 will be a turbulent year with macroeconomic uncertainty and higher costs.
At the same time, he emphasizes that Telia expects increased costs from suppliers and much higher electricity costs linked to the operation of the national mobile and landline network.
Last autumn, Telia’s CEO Allison Kirkby announced an increase in energy costs by SEK 600 million, to SEK 900 million as a result of the increased electricity prices, writes DN.
It is the mobile masts in particular that make up Telia’s electricity consumption. In Norway alone, the mobile company has over 6,000 mobile masts.