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November 11, 2008    

UK unemployment set to rise with Virgin Media, Taylor Wimpey, GSK and Psion announcing job losses

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by Kay Murchie
”UK

Cable, internet and phone company, Virgin Media, has announced today it is cutting 2,200 jobs from its 14,600 workforce.

The job losses, which represent 15% of its workforce, are part of major restructure and will save up to £120 million ($186.4 million) over the next 4 years.

Sources close to the company insist that the job losses are not related to the economic downturn but are due to the Telewest and NTL merger and the subsequent acquisition of Virgin Mobile two years ago.

The group, of which Sir Richard Branson is the largest shareholder, said it will not start cutting jobs until the fourth quarter of 2009.

Virgin Media has 76 offices throughout the UK, with major bases including sites in London, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The news comes within 12 hours of other companies announcing major job cuts. Yell, the publisher of the Yellow Pages, revealed plans to cut 1,300 jobs this morning, of which 300 will be from the UK.

Furthermore, housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, said it has shed 1,000 employees as a result of the slowdown in the housing market and the fall in demand for new homes.

In addition, the world’s second largest drugs maker, GlaxoSmithKline, said it is to shut its manufacturing site in Dartford with the loss of over 500 jobs.

Meanwhile, the British handheld computer maker, Psion, has announced 200 job losses.

Finally, Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone company, has announced a cost-cutting exercise, which has led to job fears.

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