Telefonica in Spain expands voluntary departure offer to 4,532 employees, union says

MADRID, December 1 (Reuters)The Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica TEF.MC has expanded its voluntary departure plan to include eligible staff from all departments rather than excluding some key units as previously announced, majority union UGT said on Wednesday.

The decision to examine the requests for voluntary dismissal from each department brings the pool of qualified employees to 4,532 against 3,261 announced on Tuesday, the UGT said in a statement after the last round of negotiations.

The recruiting limit has also been changed to allow 66% of eligible staff in units with an abundance of professionals to apply and 20% of those in units looking to hire new recruits. All senior executives of the company will be able to apply.

The program, open to all people born in 1967 or before and with at least 15 years of seniority in the company, initially aimed to provide business units dedicated to cybersecurity, marketing and artificial intelligence.

Third telecom in Europe and direct employer of 16,000 people in Spain, the operator is the third to seek layoffs in Spain this year after similar moves by Vodafone and Orange in recent months.

Telefonica faces intense competition in an increasingly cheap Spanish market as well as pressure from investors.

The KPMG advisory group helped formulate the layoff plan, the UGT union had said.

(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Nathan Allen and David Evans)

((Clara-Laeila.Laudette@thomsonreuters.com;))

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