Vodafone and Idea Cellular, the second and third largest telecom players in the country, announced that they have merged their operations to create the largest telecom operator in India. While the merged entity will be in a better position to compete against telecom players like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, it has lost nearly one third of its workforce.
According to Business Standard, the merged entity has around 8,000 employees post the announcement. Vodafone and Idea Cellular have together lost close to one-third of the workforce in the last 17 months. The newly merged entity of Vodafone Idea Ltd is estimated to have a workforce of around 17,000 at its inception. At the end of March 2017, when the two companies announced merged, the combined employee count stood at around 25,000.
At the end of March 2017, Idea Cellular had 11,784 permanent staff while Vodafone had 13,187 employees in the country. It is not clear how many employees from each company became part of the new entity or were let go because of this transition. The report adds that all employees enrolled into Vodafone Idea Ltd will be issued new joining letters.
The merger has also affected temporary, contractual and off-roll staff of the telecom operator. The reduction in number of employees would include people leaving the organization voluntarily. Since the merger, the hiring process for new employees has been very limited and very selective for both the firm, said people familiar with the process.
“Vodafone Idea has been created combining the best from both Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. It is in the core DNA of both the organizations to treat all people with respect, dignity and embrace everyone in a culture of care,” a company spokesperson told Business Standard in a response. The spokesperson added that employees would benefit from the opportunities that the larger operation offers them.
Watch: Xiaomi POCO F1 Armoured Edition First Look
The report also notes that many Idea employees have been absorbed into other Aditya Birla group companies as part of the merger deal. However, Vodafone staff were not offered similar option. The publication has also learnt that Vodafone asked its employees a set of questions to assess their utility in the new merged entity.