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Office booze-up battered in CPW cutbacks

'Beer Bust' busted to avoid going bust

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Carphone Warehouse staff who escape the current round of 450 redundancies will lose many of their perks, including the firm's long-running monthly drinking session, according to documents seen by The Register.

When job losses were announced last week, presentations were given to surviving staff detailing a much more frugal employee benefits package.

The Carphone Warehouse "Beer Bust" has been running since 1989. Staff at head office and call centres stay after hours for free beer, while shop workers are given an allowance for a trip to the pub.

The ritual is being "reviewed" on cost grounds, managers said, to be replaced with an alternative "built to reward the high performing teams". All employees are invited to the Beer Bust.

There will be no annual pay rise, tougher bonus criteria, no Christmas gifts and no company ball this year. Subsidised canteens are also under threat. In January CEO Charles Dunstone demanded cuts across the business to help navigate the recession.

Employees with allocated spaces at Carphone Warehouse offices will now be charged to park their cars. The high-end phones given to managers will also be reviewed. "We are spending more than we can afford given the economic slowdown," the presentation said. "We want to still be here when the recession ends."

The redundancy programme will see IT jobs outsourced to IBM and Manpower following a 90-day consultation period. "This is a continuation of our outsourcing journey. There are many more benefits other than just cost saving," staff were told.

Executives also reaffirmed Carphone Warehouse's commitment to invest in a chain of out-of-town superstores this year, branded Best Buy Europe. ®

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