Rogers Communications Inc. RCI-B-T is launching a voluntary staff departure program as it looks to eliminate overlapping roles in the wake of its $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.
The telecom is offering packages to employees in certain areas of the business should they decide to leave the company.
Rogers chief executive officer Tony Staffieri announced the program in a memo to employees on Tuesday. The company did not specify how many people it expects to apply, but noted that applications will be subject to approval.
“I know the decision to participate in this program is a significant one. We will do everything we can to provide you with the information you need to help you make a thoughtful decision,” Mr. Staffieri said in the memo.
The Globe and Mail previously reported that a number of people have left the company over the past three months and that additional job reductions were planned.
Industry observers and politicians expressed concerns about job losses in the lead-up to the takeover, as Rogers was expected to seek efficiencies during its integration with Calgary-based Shaw. The two telecoms previously stated that the deal would result in $1-billion of synergies.
Most corporate and line-of-business employees up to the senior director level are eligible for the voluntary departure program, while most customer-facing roles, media production staff and critical support functions are not.
For instance, field technicians, some specialized roles on the network and IT teams, and customer service and technical support agents are not eligible. Neither are production, editorial, technology and operations staff at Rogers Sports & Media, including on-air talent, producers, directors, writers and engineers.
The company said that following the program, it will continue to review its work force and minimize overlapping roles as it combines its operations with Shaw.
Rogers will also keep hiring new staff in order to build its networks and support its customers, Mr. Staffieri said.
“We’re a growth company, and we remain committed to creating thousands of jobs over the next few years as we invest in our customers, communities and country,” he said.
In order to win the blessing of federal regulators for the takeover, which closed in April, Rogers promised to create 3,000 new jobs in Western Canada within five years and maintain a Calgary headquarters for at least a decade.
Although the company has said it would eliminate some positions in areas of duplication, Mr. Staffieri has promised that the job reductions would be done “very thoughtfully” and that on a net basis, the takeover would result in more jobs, as the telecom deploys resources in growth areas.
Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, a Canadian law firm that specializes in employment law, said last week that since June 22, it has been contacted by numerous Rogers and Shaw employees who say they have been laid off owing to restructuring related to the deal.
Lior Samfiru, the firm’s national co-managing partner, told The Globe in an e-mail that the firm is reviewing the employees’ severance packages to ensure that they are being properly compensated for their “years of dedicated service.”
Rogers has said that although a “small percentage” of its work force has left the company over the past three months, the telecom has also hired more than 2,000 people during that time.
That includes repatriating hundreds of Shaw customer service jobs from Central America to British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.