Telenor, Norway’s state-controlled telecoms firm, was catching criticism on Thursday after cutting 170 jobs and 85 contracts with consultants, right when the country is already reeling from major job losses in the oil sector.
“We understand the need to make operations more efficient,” one union leader told website ABC Nyheter, “but we think the timing is challenging, when the entire oil branch and oil supply industry is lining up to get rid of workers.”
The 255 looming job cuts at Telenor, which now has 4,200 employees in Norway, will be made in the technology and fixed-line (non-mobile) telephone divisions and take effect from November 1. “We must modernize, and the changes will unfortunately lead to redundancies,” Berit Svendsen, managing director of Telenor Norge, wrote in a press release. She noted that Telenor has been losing 100,000 customers a year who no longer want or need conventional fixed-line telephone services, and that cuts into revenues.
Telenor has grown dramatically outside Norway while cutting jobs at home for years, as mobile technology takes over for conventional phone services. The company had more than 20,000 employees in Norway as late as 1999, more than four times the number now.