Trade union Prospect has accused Vodafone of targeting 80 members of staff with redundancy and trying to appoint replacements on inferior conditions.
The union said the employees work in its technology team across its network team and Cornerstone network sharing program. It said the workers are being told to leave with 'little or no warning' and accused the operator of 'riding roughshod over staff'.
Prospect senior organiser Caroline Hemmington said: 'Vodafone is using the fact that it does not recognise a union to try and by-pass accepted practice and make people redundant via the back door. We have heard that the numbers being targeted easily exceeded 20, the figure over which the company is required by law to conduct a 30-day consultation period.
'By issuing compromise agreements it is seeking to bypass its legal responsibilities and the processes which exist to ensure people are treated fairly.'
The union said the operator should hold a proper redundancy process to determine the reasons for the job cuts, how many staff it will hit, how they will be selected and on what terms. Hemmington added: 'We have even heard reports from members these vacant posts will be re-advertised at a lower rate which, if true, means these are cost-cutting measures dressed up to sound like redundancy, especially if there are no clear selection criteria.'
A spokesperson for Vodafone confirmed that changes were being made to the technology team but she declined to say how many staff were affected or comment on Prospect's allegations.
Editor: Graeme Neill