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Muqbil Ahmar

Muqbil Ahmar writes on culture and poetry. He is a writer and theater activist, who wants to bring about harmony and amicability in the present day society. Music, poetry and good food are his passions.

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Mother of All Layoffs Idea–Vodafone Merger May Lead to 10K Job Cuts

India’s Telecom Sector is in doubtful times. Several experts as well as executives also feel that massive job losses would be inevitable after telecom operators go for merging operations to streamline businesses in order to cut down costs and minimize redundancy.

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Indian telecom sector’s dark days continue with no signs of abating. They may actually intensify. The phase of consolidation and mergers could lead to a leaner organization structure and may leave thousands jobless. This is particularly true for the merger between Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Idea Cellular and Vodafone India and is expected to have wide-ranging ramifications for the industry, staff and consumers.

“There is little doubt staff at head office or circle (offices) are batting on a sticky wicket. This will put 10,000–25,000 jobs at risk. If we add the indirectly employed, the number can rise to as many as 100,000,” says an industry expert.

According to industry insiders, the proposed merger may result in about 10,000 job cuts over the next year. It is logical. A large merger, like that between Vodafone and Idea, will make thousands of jobs redundant because of duplication, which basically means that people in similar positions in both the companies would be fighting for a reduced number of positions post the merger. And people would have to let go.

“I have known all along that there would be job cuts. Don’t know if I would be in my job tomorrow. After hearing of the news, everyone has gone into the save-my-job mode. I am unable to concentrate on my work. I have a family to support. With the slowdown in the telecom industry, it will be difficult to find a similar job in Telecom. I have spent 15 years of my life in this sector. Where do I go now? Changing courses would be difficult for me,” says an executive, on condition of anonymity.

Naturally, there is perceptible uncertainty and anxiety among the 30,000 employees of both the companies. Rumors are flying thick and fast. If the rumors and media reports were to be believed around 30% job cuts are in the offing. It is obvious. The entire exercise is meant to cut down costs and expenses and eventually to lead to a slimmer organizational structure. Several experts as well as executives also feel that massive job losses would be inevitable after telecom operators go for merging operations to streamline businesses in order to cut down costs and minimize redundancy.

On the other hand, Birla has announced that there will be no substantial or major job cuts at Idea Cellular post the merger with Vodafone India. The statement in itself is pretty vague. It remains to be seen what the word substantial or major means according to the Idea chief. That time should come soon.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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idea cellular merger vodafone india layoffs 10K

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