back to article 1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy over Capita

Another 400 O2 staff will be redundant by December, something the union calls "a betrayal". The operator, meanwhile, claims it is proof of just how generous the voluntary offer was. Both sides agree that 1,000 O2 staff will be made redundant as the remaining call centres are outsourced to Capita, and that this is more than the …


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  1. LarsG

    Who'd have thought it

    Who'd have thought it, wasn't Capita the company everyone wanted to work for?

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  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Capita arent the company everyone wants to work for, and as a current employee, I can completely understand that, the first chance I get - I am off.

    Senior Management - too busy in their glass houses thinking everything is cosy and rosy, and that morale is great - it definitely isnt - you guys are going to lose a lot of good people and be left with a company that isnt worth the paper its letterhead is written on

    Middle Managers - some of them are too stupid to realise the excellent people that they have working under them. No care and compassion, no duty of care either, only concerned with getting their own figures up and looking good for the Senior Management.

    People are leaving Capita in their droves at the moment, I can see them becoming the next B2B if they are not careful.

    1. Dr Who

      Re: No....


      1. Anonymous Coward 15

        Re: No....

        That is the question.

        1. Mike 102

          Re: No....

          what is the question??

    2. Rosie Davies

      Re: No....

      Let me know if you ever find anywhere that ISN'T like that as I never have. Except for the small software house (~30 employees) I worked at a LONG time ago.

      1. asdf

        Re: No....

        >Let me know if you ever find anywhere that ISN'T like that as I never have. Except for the small software house (~30 employees) I worked at a LONG time ago.

        Yeah and half the time the mom and pop shops don't have the resources (try asking for a $1000 software tool haha) to be anything but startups for years. Damn if you do ...

    3. Eponymous Cow Turd

      Re: No....

      Sounds depressing...but also sounds like countless other big organisations

  4. goats in pajamas

    Met them before... a college I was attending. A few weeks before the end of the year we got our proper logins (prior to that we had temporary logins only) and Staff had to use Student logins as Capita wouldn't let them have any. Every classroom had a whiteboard and a projector that didn't work, or that did work, but couldn't be used as Student logins didn't grant access to Staff folders.

  5. James 51

    Isn't their nickname crapita?

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Race To Oblivium?

      James51, yup that's the one, Crapita it is. They work so very hard to go the bottom of the heap. Thank the good lord I cancelled my O2 account. My account was on monthly notice but boy was it hard to get a route to cancel.

      One can bemoan the lack of UK companies. When we have them we sell them off. Look at O2 and almost every other one. Then we allow bottom feeders like crapita to destroy any hope of getting through to the company - are these all parts of the same money stealing plot - a sort of Hotel California-esk mess.

      No wonder some people are worried about excess drinking, it helps blot out the reality of second rate life.

    2. asdf


      Being a Yank haven't dealt with them myself but definitely know the type (plenty of their type over here too). Still when I hear Capita makes me think of CAPTCHA which is appropriate as both are a kick in the crotch to the average punter/worker.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happens when....

    You don't get a real job.

    Granted, lots will be students, etc, but I once dated a girl who worked in a call centre, and so when I gave it the usual: "So where do you want to go after that?" her reply was a staggering: "Why would I want to go anywhere? I'm really happy with it."

    The dating didn't last very long once I realised she was an ambitionless and unmotivated!

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: What happens when....

      So you'd rather date someone with great ambitions who is most likely miserable trying to climb the ladder, than someone who is happy with their job and hence probably fairly happy and jolly outside work as well?

      We all spend enough time at work, that there is lot to be said for being happy at work.

    2. The Serpent

      Re: What happens when....

      There's a lot to be said for the attitude I've seen amongst continental Europeans whereby if you have been, say, a waiter for many years, people are happy to think you obviously work merely to cover your life costs and have interests elsewhere. If you want to be judged by your job, then that's fine too but it isn't for everyone.

      It takes all sorts to make a world, very few people can be a billionaire rockstar astronaut and some people actively don't wish to be one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What happens when....

        I've never been career driven, but am lucky/good enough at what I do to be pushed up the ranks.

        I've been requested a couple of times to become a director and turned it down... I just have no interest in that.

        I'm not a bad software developer and I get by in IT Management. However I've found all too often but don't gel well with the director guys and other heads of departments in their expensive restaurants eating fatty foods and all the rest that goes with that.

        The truth is I also don't enjoy what I do all that much any more as the pressures are ever increasing. I'm very much looking for a way back down again, or even changing careers (part of me wants out of the office all together now). I very much envy that girl if she found a position she was happy in doing something she enjoys. That's where I've always been aiming for! Life's too short for anything else as far as I'm concerned!

  7. OutsourceVictim

    1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy ?

    Many more than "1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy" but the company has chosen the 1,000 it wants rid of using unknown, opaque 'selection criteria' that it will not disclose.

    1. thomas newton
      Thumb Down

      Re: 1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy ?

      if NTL, IBM and Manpower (among others) are anything to go by, they'll be using it as an excuse to get rid of the intelligent staff who see all the middle manager bulls**t for what it is - but who also actually are the ones best capable at the job.

      leaving the dregs there who don't have the temeritry to question management edicts, but who are also quite incapable of tying there own shoelaces without help. the same managers will then be, as has been said, lamenting the fact they have no decent staff.

      a plague upon all their houses.

    2. Thomas Whipp

      Re: 1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy ?

      as far as I know, when people apply for voluntary redundancy you dont have to justify which offers you accept. A selection criteria only applies for involuntary redundancy, and the package that people are shown when discussing voluntary options with a group is generally termed an illustration rather than a formal offer.

      Its even legally possible to reject a request for voluntary redundancy when its under subscribed and force the situation to selection. This could happen if you had say a team of 30 staff, wanted to cut to 20 and your best 5 all asked for redundancy while lower performing staff didnt.

      Voluntary is just that - its a mutual agreement.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy ?

        I wa sin a situation as described - my employer did everything they could to stop me getting the voluntary redundancy (short of offering pay rises and better working conditions), but they were informed by the employment courts that they had no choice. (The offer was undersubscribed)

        Had the offer been oversubscribed it would have been another matter, but as the court said at the time, if people have indicated they want to get out, you continue to force them to stay at your own peril.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Certain union branch officers posturing?

    Is it true that at least one locally based Union officer is grandstanding on the outsourcing issue so as to maximise chances of being selected as a 2015 parliamentary candidate in one of the NW England constituencies affected? Having kowtowed to previous outsourcings, pension dilutions etc, one would hope the parliamentary seat would deserve a better, more intelligent candidate.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Certain union branch officers posturing?

      I've worked in companies where being active in the union was the only way of getting seen as being more capable than the management you were often involved correcting and achieving promotion. Nothing scares HR more than someone who has read the shit they produce - and know their loopholes.

  9. Lost in Cyberspace

    Does this mean

    An end to the pretty good O2 telephone support I enjoy?

    Have I got 2 years until its outsourced abroad and as shoddy as Three?

    1. Allonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Does this mean

      I was a very happy O2 customer - broadband and phone - until a recent house move forced a change of provider.

      When I rang to cancel my contracts, I got straight through and told the (very nice and helpful) call centre rep that I'd go with them again in future if circumstances warranted it. I would've too - their offerings were good and the support excellent.

      Then within months their broadband gets sold off to Murdoch and the (very nice and helpful) call centre rep either gets booted over to Crapita, or perhaps she took the money and ran. Guess I lucked out with my timing.

      I'm going to be looking for broadband and phone again soon, but not so sure I'll be looking at O2 any more.

  10. Dan McIntyre

    Capita are also one of the companies (the other being ATOS) who will be assessing claimants for PIP.

    They're already facing a lot of hatred, and it's only set to increase...

    I wouldn't want to work there either as a disabled person myself but then as an NHS contractor I don't have to, thankfully.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      disabled workers

      maybe you we should wait to judge until thay have started...

      1. Dan McIntyre

        Re: disabled workers


        maybe you we should wait to judge until thay have started..."

        Interesting reading. It sounds like they may be well intentioned, let's just hope things stay that way, rather than the ATOS version.

  11. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    10 quid is not 10 quid if it is from Capita

    Capita may be "guaranteeing" 2 years for those who fall into its clutches, but there's lots of ways to trim the cost.

    What *exactly* is the guarantee ?

    Given that Capita have repeatedly failed to deliver when there are enforceable contracts with clients what makes anyone think they can be held to a vague bit of arm waving ?

    I don't see any mention of holiday pay, easy for Capita to lose a few days there.

    They can hassle people over toilet breaks, or say you only get paid when you reach your desk, not when you arrive on site. "Flexible" working, ie putting the 10 quid an hour people on unpleasant shifts in pregerence to the cheaper ones.

    Managers can be quietly "incentivised" to lean more on the expensive people and let natural wastage get rid of the more expensive people. Easy for Capita to set "targets" for performance and hassle / fire the more expensive people.

    Capita aren't good people, I'd only work for them if there was no alternative at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10 quid is not 10 quid if it is from Capita

      I agree that the moving of O2 staff to Capita and their rates of pay is poor - and that they've got a bad reputation at the moment. I have to disagree with your statement "Capita aren't good people" though. I've worked for Capita in a TechOps role for 14 years and it's been a very rewarding and satisfying time. Like most corporate groups how you are treated depends where you work... the bit of Capita I'm in is excellent to work for and my managers are understanding and fair.

      Although Capita aren't the best wage payers in the world, they've been very stable during the economic downturn. Financially they are pathologically allergic to debt, meaning when the lending crisis hit Capita weren't affected. In fact things have been quite good during this period for some parts of the group.

      Don't get me wrong - it's not all sweetness and light in Capita Group, far from it, but it's very easy to paint 50000 people who work here with with the "Crapita" brush. There's lots of good people at all levels, working hard and treating each other with respect.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: 10 quid is not 10 quid if it is from Capita

        whilst somewhere in crapitas dungeon a query is written ...

        select * from staff where tenure=14 and role='techop';

        but more seriously, sure there is a bell curve at play, there will be good managers and bad managers, the problem is with companies with a curve squewed towards bat shit crazy and retarded. Unfortunately once you hit critical mass of bat shit crazy th is an exodus of sane managers and you get left with mostly mouthbreathers who haven't looked outside their family for a mate in seven generations.

      2. Toothpick

        Re: 10 quid is not 10 quid if it is from Capita

        "I agree that the moving of O2 staff to Capita and their rates of pay is poor - and that they've got a bad reputation at the moment"

        But did Crapita ever have a good rep ?

  12. Rogue Jedi

    Capita customer support

    I have to deal with Capita quite frequently, the School Information Management System is a Capita product every time there is a SIMS update (generally 3 compulsary updates a year) it breaks something, requireing much time wasted on the phone with customer service representatives, who invariably after I have spennt several hours troubleshooting, tell me that I will have to wait at least a week for a new patch to repair the upgrade, or the add-on which broke.

    this is a company seemlingly incapable of checking that an upgrade to one of there flagship products does not break extension modules (costing thousands of pounds per year) created inhouse for that product, or of advising there helpdesks of known bugs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capita customer support

      Ah SIMS, that fuster cluck of total arse was one reason I left schools IT. In 2007 some bits were still 16 bit and it was a real problem to keep it going. My local council had a SIMS specialist troubleshooter to keep it going.

      If I could rid the world of two firms it would be Capita/SIMS and either RM (crap products at the highest price) or Renault...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you work for O2 take the money and run

    Staff transferring out with higher wages than "normal" which are protected, WILL find themselves "not operating to expected standard" and will be forced out due to "performance" issues. This is standard practice for getting rid of low level staff. I've seen this operate in call centres.

  14. PeterM42

    In my experience..

    ...most services which are outsourced are to save money which usually means worse service.

    Outsourcing companies are only doing it for the money, so they pay as little as possible and, as we all know, pay peanuts = get monkeys.

    "To be or not to be, that is the .lksjdzlkhg la"

    1. Mike Brown

      Re: In my experience..

      It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: In my experience..

      The point about outsourcing is to lower costs.

      You lower costs on a helpdesk by making it so bad that people only call as a last resort, but not quite so bad that they'll leave.

      Quite frankly I'm surprised so many people put up with appalling customer service and don't vote with their wallets. I did and the extra 5% it costs me is well worth the hours not lost to dealing with the mouth-breathing script-reading results of what you get when you pay peanuts.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O2 have flogged off my home broadband to Sky, a company I would never choose to transact with and are now transferring their staff to Crapita.

    Good job my home phone and broadband contract is up this month and my mobe contract is up in a couple of months.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work for Capita doing hot, tiring, sweaty, smelly work, and a few days ago somebody raised a complaint with my manager that by the end of the day I was hot, tired, sweaty and smelly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Answer is: Do less work.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    proof of just how generous the voluntary offer was.

    Boss: Were' moving your jobs to capita.

    Staff: Oh God not Crapita!

    Boss: We'll let you go for nothing.

    Staff: Thank fuck for that!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I am being naive but it seems to me that the "offer" of just retaining your present salary level for two years isn't such an attractive one. If the choice is between a pay freeze for two years followed by a pay drop, and then having to find another job: or to sort your situation out now, get it out of the way, and leave with a bit of cash in your pocket. That second one is the more attractive to those who don't like to procrastinate, isn't it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Taking redundancy now would be a gamble that you can get another job before the redundancy pay-off ran out, and in the current economic climate that's a pretty big gamble.

      As others above have said, if Crapita want to get rid of you they will find a way (compromise agreements used to be the favourite in CITS) and they will do anything they can to get rid of anyone earning a penny more than anyone else in the same job.

      Leaving now, you'll be one of a thousand people all looking for a similar job in the same region at the same time. Wait until the 2 years are up & you'll be one of however many were left doing the job ALL looking for work at the same time when Crapita outsource to another country. Probably the safest option for getting another job is to wait until part way through the 2 year TUPE period then start looking - unless you're lucky enough to find something now & manage to time it just right to take the redundancy AND start a new job right away, but that's rare.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobile market is now utility, you get what you pay for

    If we ignore the 54 billion euro debt that Telefonica have for the moment... and look at a few things O2 have tried to do in the recent past, I think it possible to see that the mobile market is now a utility, and people are only shopping on price.

    About 3 years ago O2 decided to "market lead" by changing data from "unlimited" to 500MB, which was more that almost everyone was using at the time, but still, customers left in droves, as they wanted free data they would never use, and half arsed companies such as 3 hoovered up loads of customers

    Then about 2 years ago, O2 tried to "market lead" by not following the tariff price of other operators down, but to sell on quality and brand, a Marks & Spencer food hall approach if you will. They decided to keep their more expensive UK based call centres, and tried to make sure you got through to a human if you wanted one. Well that was an effing disaster, people left in droves again, and no one new signed up as other operators were 50p a month cheaper. Well with Voda moving call centres to Egypt, EE moving theirs to Sri Lanka and Three just not bothering to answer calls, surprise surprise, O2 had to do something as their cost were far more than the other operators.

    I'm not saying its good, I'm not saying its fair, but you get what you pay for, and a lot of customers want cheap, so don't be surprised if your customer care is getting worse, espcecially in a year where the regulator not only stiffed £billions out of the operators for licences, but also continues to force down charges "for the customers own good"

    The American mobile companies look at Europe and laugh, they can't believe how fucked over the operators get compared to them, I suppose it at least stops them buying up networks and making them even worse, we'll just have to wait for the Chinese to get bored with building their own and for them to buy up Europe.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just thought it worth mentioning

    Just to let you know the voluntary redundancy was discretionary; it wasnt awarded to every employee that applied for it - being someone who applied for it personally it wouldve been nice to move on with a golden handshake, but life being life it didnt happen.TBH I am moving on anyway - 8 years is a long time I think (posed AC for obvious reasons)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Just thought it worth mentioning

      8 years is WHY they didn't give it to you - it would cost too much.

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