Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) announced plans to reduce employee numbers by up to 2,000 before the end of the year, as part of efforts to simplify the business following its creation from a merger of Telefonica and Liberty Global’s units.

A company representative indicated it is discussing future plans with employee agents.

“As we continue to integrate and transform as a company, we are currently consulting on proposals to simplify our operating model to better deliver for customers, which will see a reduction in some roles this year,” the representative said.

“While we know any period of change can be difficult, we are committed to supporting all of our people and are working closely with the [trade unions] CWU and Prospect along with our internal employee representatives as we have open and honest conversations on the future direction of our business.”

Company figures show VMO2 currently has around 18,700 employees.

The company announced the move on the day its released Q2 metrics, in which CEO Lutz Schuler stated its priorities are to build “commercial momentum, realising the synergies of the joint venture and future proofing our networks”.

VMO2 was created in June 2021 with the tie-up of Telefonica’s O2 UK mobile operation and Liberty Global’s Virgin Media fixed business.

Following completion, the company has been working to integrate the businesses and achieve synergies highlighted as part of the rationale for the deal.

VMO2 is the latest operator to reveal plans to cut its workforce after rival BT Group announced large-scale job cuts.

PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore noted VMO2’s move is “about efficiencies” with all operators “struggling to generate new forms of revenue”.

“Margins continue to be squeezed due to rollout of next generation of networks and people are reluctant to spend more on connectivity.”

Pescatore said VMO2’s integration process pointed to the potential for further lay-offs if a deal to combine Vodafone UK and 3 UK’s operations is cleared: “It is an unfortunate consequence of a merger”.