Telecoms: SFR will cut 1,700 jobs in France in 2021

This is the second major social plan since the takeover of SFR by Numericable in 2014. The operator also plans to hire 1,000 young people.

Another blow for the employees of SFR. The operator plans to cut 1,700 jobs out of 9,500, according to the unions. Or 18% of the workforce. For its part, the management, which confirms the 1,700 jobs concerned, takes into account a larger scope with a total of 15,000 employees, including all the subsidiaries of Altice France, including BFM-RMC, ERT and Intelcia. An amalgamation which irritates the representatives of the employees.

This is the second major social plan since the takeover of SFR by Numericable in 2014, again on the basis of voluntary departures. “We then concluded an employment agreement with management, which had undertaken to maintain the workforce at 9,500 positions. The agreement was extended in 2017, until December 2020, ”explains Abdelkader Choukrane, central union representative of Unsa SFR. The job cuts should therefore drop the workforce of SFR below the bar of 9,500 employees. “However, telecoms are a sector of the future, we need them like water and energy,” he laments.

The pill is all the more bitter for the employees of the group as the telecom operators have shown resilience in the current crisis. SFR recorded a 2.4% increase in its turnover in 2020, to 10.4 billion euros, with an improvement in its net margin. The group should also pocket 2.3 billion euros, the result of the sale of its stake in its Tower Co Hivory.

“The Unsa does not understand this decision, the employees are worried. The deletions are not justified in view of the health of Altice and the perimeter. We would not understand if the Minister of Labor did not intervene, ”adds Abdelkader Choukrane. “There is a deception somewhere. The crisis is the pretext for further job cuts, which do not correspond to the results, nor to the ambitions displayed by the group, ”adds Xavier Courtillat, CFDT central union representative of SFR.

“New talents”

For some employees, Altice – the parent company of SFR – uses the “Covid pretext” to carry out these job cuts. On the contrary, the group’s management sees the current crisis as “an accelerator of transformation, with more digital in organizations”. Reflection of this development, 400 of the 1,700 positions deleted will be in shops, whose attendance has fallen by more than 30% since the start of the pandemic. In addition, SFR plans to hire 1,000 young people over four years. “New talents”, to adapt to changes in the environment. This will, for example, be hiring in the field of cybersecurity.

French competitive landscape

The group seeks to place this plan within the broader framework of a new strategic orientation for 2025, with in particular the promise to accelerate the development of fiber and 5G in Franc. Its ambition is to connect 90% of French households to fiber and to cover 98% of municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants with 5G by 2025. “It is a question of being able to absorb the traffic which is constantly increasing. increase each year (+ 35% of traffic for SFR in 2020) ”, explains the group. It also wants to double its presence in the SME market, by strengthening its offers and accelerating their connection to fiber.

SFR management also highlights the French competitive landscape in telecoms. The war of promotions may well end in a truce, the prices charged are among the lowest. By launching 5G “at the price of 4G”, Free has once again cut the grass from under the feet of its rivals. It largely deprives them of the opportunity to monetize this new technology. Finally, SFR deplores “extremely heavy sector specific taxation” in France.