TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Proximus confirms job losses

Proximus, one of Belgium's main telecom operators, has confirmed the news that 1,900 jobs are to go at the company.  Proximus, formerly known as Belgacom, intends to hire 1,250 new staff too to fill profiles existing staff can't meet.

News of the telecom giant's plans leaked early triggering political fury as the company's main shareholder is the Belgian state.  In a communique Proximus speaks of the digitalisation process reaching a watershed moment.  Proximus says it needs to reinvent itself fundamentally and offer digital solutions that meet the needs and wishes of customers.

It points to a "stagnating telecom market" and heavy-handed regulation that puts prices under pressure.  The company is clearly unhappy about the EU decision to ban roaming charges.  The company says it faces the challenge of bringing greater connectivity at competitive prices, while making important investments.

The 1,250 new staff who will be recruited will have to possess specific ICT and digital profiles.  Existing staff will be able to follow courses to beef up digital skills.  The company plans to reconsider its range of products, its networks, platforms, real estate, IT systems, supplier contracts and call centre arrangements in order to cut costs.  This should lead to a 240 million euro saving by 2022.  Talks with the trade unions are also planned. Proximus unions are shocked by the news of the job losses and have given notification of strike action.

The Proximus share that was suspended on Euronext on Wednesday is once again traded today.