O2 is planning to transform 82 of its UK shops into franchise operations by the middle of 2013, increasing the total number of franchised outlets to around 200. It means that over 40% of O2 UK shops wouldn’t be owned by the Telefónica mobile network.
Staff are expected to continue working for the new business owners without any job losses.
The Communication Workers Union has described the move as “a huge gamble in the fiercely competitive mobile market”
Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said “Telefónica is playing poker with our members’ livelihoods in this franchising move which will destabilise the whole retail network of 450 shops, not just the 82 affected by today’s announcements. Staff will be wondering whether they have a job and what their future holds as they enter the busy pre-Christmas shopping period.”
The first O2 UK franchise was opened in Rotherham in November 2005.