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The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has promised the "strongest possible" response if O2 announces compulsory redundancies as part of the 500 job losses it disclosed yesterday.

The mobilephoneco said the job cuts from managerial and back-office staff are part of a restructuring of its business as it seeks to become more responsive to the needs of customers.

But in a statement the CWU said it was "shocked and dismayed at the announcement by O2 that the mobile phone company is planning to cut up to 500 jobs in non-customer facing areas."

Said CWU assistant secretary Dave Johnson said: "Whilst the majority of the job losses will affect managerial grades (up to 450) the CWU nevertheless believes that even 50 job cuts at such a time of high profit and growth does not make sense.

"Whilst O2 have committed to achieving the loss of 50 jobs in CWU represented grades by voluntary means, the Union has made it clear that any attempt to force our members out of the company by way of compulsory redundancy will meet with the strongest possible re-action."

The union's statement made no mention of the fact that O2 also intends to create an extra 2,000 jobs as part of the restructuring. ®

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