UK Union Says O2 Retail Staff Reporting Horror Stories

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The UK's Communication Workers Union (CWU) says that it has written to the mobile network operator O2 following what it says are a spate of complaints from store staff over their treatment since being moved to franchise shops.

O2 is currently transferring 77 directly-owned shops to 16 franchise owners. To date, 67 have already moved across to the new owners.

While many have gone smoothly, the CWU says that it has received some reports of what the union has called "horror stories" with staff facing a range of concerning treatment.

"We're really concerned at the number of complaints we're receiving from members in recently franchised O2 stores" explains CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge. "We're getting horror stories of sackings, suspensions, people being asked to sign new contracts, others being videoed at work and some franchise owners not paying Sunday rates. The fears we always had about this franchise operation are coming to fruition in some, but not all, areas."

The reports have come in from stores based around the country, implying that the problems are not restricted simply to a rogue franchise owner or two. CWU has been involved in negotiating the terms of the franchise move and Telefonica arranged a meeting with one franchise owner where no problems have been reported. Of the 16 franchisees, only three are new franchise owners, with 13 having existing O2 stores.

"There are people leaving their jobs, people being sacked and people who are feeling miserable. This isn't a good situation and we believe Telefonica need to take responsibility for this," Sally continued.

CWU wrote to Telefonica in November raising the concerns. The company and union are in contact regarding the issues and meetings are being set up to tackle these in the New Year.

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Tags: cwu  o2  UK 

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