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Vodafone and Idea laid off thousands of staff ahead of merger

Vodafone and Idea laid off thousands of staff ahead of merger

Ahead of their now completed merger, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular reportedly reduced their combined workforce by nearly a third.

Data cited in Indian newspaper Business Standard notes that the operators had around 25,000 employees between them when their proposed merger was announced in March 2017. The deal finally closed last week, and in the intervening 17 months this number had dropped to 17,000.

India’s Economic Times reported in April this year that the merger would likely lead to around 5000 members of staff being laid off by the two operators. However, they had estimated the original employee base at 21,000 – significantly lower than the 25,000 claimed by Business Standard.

However, not all of these employees have necessarily been made redundant – Idea’s former parent company Aditya Birla Group is active in many industries across India. Staff cut from Idea Cellular have reportedly been transferred to subsidiary units of the group active in different sectors.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have now merged to create Vodafone Idea, the new Indian market leader. The final hurdle in the process was a demand from India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a payment of INR73 billion ($1 billion) related to unpaid spectrum charges from Vodafone’s 2015 merger of its local units.

The Economic Times has separately reported that Vodafone Idea will launch a legal challenge against the DoT in an attempt to win back this fee – indeed, they only agreed to pay the sum on the basis that they would have the right to contest it in court.

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