Virgin Media mulls ditching 1 in 3 UK facilities, starts £20m spend audit

'Staff in uproar' as relocation suddenly on the cards

Exclusive Virgin Media is to consider shuttering more than one-third of its sites across the UK amid a review of its multi-million pound annual spend on facilities, according to a letter to staff seen by The Register.

Chief exec Tom Mockridge told his workforce: “Every year, we spend more than £20m on our facilities but, frankly, this investment is not working hard enough for everyone at Virgin Media. And, over the past couple of years, we’ve invested an additional £12m to improve the standard of a number of our offices.”

He added: “I want to be honest with you. This will mean some changes and, inevitably, some disruption for those involved as we relocate our sites which are under-used, refurbish sites to bring them up to standard or, if necessary, consider moving to new accommodation.”

Under the plans, 45 locations have been earmarked for closure, including offices in Chelmsford, Ashford, Camden, Swansea, Slough, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Derby, Londonderry, and Dundee.

Many of Virgin Media's sites are the result of multiple acquisitions, leaving it with over 130 spread “far and wide across the UK” and resulting in a “scattered network of offices” that needs to “better support the business’s goals," said Mockridge.

Each one of those work spaces is currently used by between 50 to 100 staff, according to one insider, who said affected staff already put on consultation are “understandably in uproar”.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said the firm was committed to making the best use of its resources. “To ensure Virgin Media’s office setup contributes to and enables our growth plans, we are starting a process of updating and relocating some of our sites around the UK.

“This programme, running over the next three years, will involve closing some sites alongside refurbishing and expanding others, where necessary, to make them an even better place to work.”

He added: “We are ensuring that our people are part of this process from beginning to end – we are listening to and consulting with them so that everyone is able to feed into the proposals. Our executive and senior leadership teams have recently visited sites and will be regularly updating our people throughout the programme.”

Last month Virgin Media announced the closure of 30 of its shops, including the flagship Oxford Street branch, resulting in 250 job losses.

Industry talk of a tie‑up between Virgin Media and Vodafone in the UK has recently bubbled up again, with Moody’s Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and risk analysis to the market, predicting that the two “could eventually agree” on a deal.

The Register also reported in March that both parties were back at the negotiating table again. ®

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