Telefonica’s board could approve measures designed to cut up to 20 per cent of its Spanish workforce in a meeting scheduled for later today (10 September), El Pais reported.

The plan offers early retirement to employees aged over 53 years and, if approved, will then be put to relevant trade unions. It will likely take a similar shape to the company’s existing Individual Employment Suspension Plan, which has led to the departure of 6,300 employees since 2016.

Its proposed measure follows a number of attempts by Telefonica to cut overheads and raise funds to slash its huge debt pile.

After nine successive quarters of cutting debt, at end-June the operator still had a deficit of €40 billion. In recent months the company signed network sharing deals in the UK, Brazil and Germany in a bid to reduce costs associated with developing 5G and upgrading 4G networks.

In addition to making savings to its ongoing costs, in Q1 it struck a deal to sell three of its operations in Central America to Millicom and two to America Movil. Last week El Economista reported Telefonica was also assessing the sale of its Movistar Ecuador business.

Telefonica is not the only operator looking to cut costs in Spain. In January, Vodafone Spain announced a plan to cut 20 per cent from its workforce due to “economic, productive and organisational reasons.”