Virgin Media is to cut 450 Virgin Mobile jobs at its Trowbridge call centre, which will be closed down as part of the ongoing merger of Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile.
The bulk of the call centre jobs, estimated at around 350, will be transferred to Virgin Media's call centre in Wythenshawe in Manchester. Of the remaining 100 jobs, some may be transferred to Virgin Media's remaining site in Trowbridge whilst others could go to other centres in Newport, Bristol and Cardiff.
Staff at the Virgin Media contact centre in Trowbridge (pictured), which handles calls for Virgin Mobile and other Virgin products, were briefed by senior Virgin Media management at 2pm today (Wednesday) about the decision to close the site by the end of 2012.
The news will come as a blow to the local community. The closure closely follows Vodafone's announcement last month that it plans to close its centre on the same site in Trowbridge.
The CWU hit out at Virgin Media's decision to close the site. It calculates around 500 jobs will go from the site and claimed few employees would be able to transfer or relocate to other Virgin Media sites.
Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary said: 'This is a disaster for Virgin Media staff at Trowbridge and for the whole area. Coming on the back of the Vodafone decision to pull out of Trowbridge, the local economy will be hit hard by this redundancy double whammy.
'We’re asking Virgin Media to make redeployment and relocation packages a realistic option for staff who may be interested, not a token tick box exercise. The sad fact is that there will not be an option to stay in Trowbridge and work for Virgin Media as other sites are not within commuting distance and relocation remains an unrealistic option for the majority of staff.
'The closure will be phased over 18 months, but this is no consolation for staff, many of whom have long service for the company, who ultimately face losing their job.'
Virgin Media defended its decision, insisting it was not cutting jobs and would be creating more call centre jobs at its other call centres on top of the 350 jobs being transferred to Wythenshawe.It also said it would offer employees the option to relocate or redeploy to other sites in the UK.
A Virgin Media spokesman said: 'Today we have announced our plans for the final stages of the integration of Virgin Mobile into Virgin Media, ensuring we give our customers a consistent experience whether enjoying our mobile, broadband, TV or home phone services.
'As a result of these changes we will be exiting our Trowbridge office in a series of planned phases over the next 18 months, with a proposed site closure in December 2012.
'There are around 450 people affected by this announcement, all of whom will be offered the option to relocate or redeploy to roles within the UK. We know this may be a difficult message for our staff so we are committed to communicating as early and openly as possible with all affected employees. With a long lead-time for changes, we will be working closely with all teams throughout the upcoming consultation period to help our staff best manage any decisions about their futures.'