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800 Phones 4u jobs saved

Some of the 5,600 Phones 4u jobs in peril following the retailer's collapse have been saved after Dixons Carphone offered to take on 800 posts.

The staff currently work at 160 Phones 4u concessions within Currys/PC World stores, which recently became part of Dixons Carphone.

Phones 4u's collapse into administration has put a total of 5,596 jobs at risk but there were reports today that network operators Vodafone and EE are in talks to buy parts of the business, which has 560 standalone outlets.

Dixons Carphone said in a tweet today: " Pleased to confirm we have secured agreement to offer all Phones4U colleagues (circa 800) in our@curryspcworld stores roles ."

Prior to its merger with Carphone Warehouse, Dixons had an existing agreement with rival Phones 4u to run mobile concessions in 160 Currys/PC World megastores until next May.

Dixons Carphone has also encouraged Phones 4u staff to apply for other jobs within the group.

The company has recently begun rolling out Currys and PC World stores with Carphone Warehouse concessions, allowing customers to buy products ranging from a toaster to the latest smartphone under one roof.

A corporate restructuring team from PwC is currently in talks with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the business. The stores have remained closed while those talks take place.

It said on Monday it was hopeful that it will be able to pay all the outstanding wage arrears but that this was dependent on accessing funds to pay for the costs of the business.

EE and the other network operators were accused of a ''co-ordinated attempt to kill off'' the retailer after their failure to renew contracts left the company with no option but to call in administrators.

Entrepreneur John Caudwell, who set up the operation in the 1980s before selling it for £1.5 billion in 2006, called the behaviour of the networks " extremely callous, extremely ruthless".

Vodafone said it rejected any suggestion that it behaved inappropriately during its negotiations with Phones 4u and indicated that the private equity-owned firm's debt repayment schedule hampered the discussions.

EE said its decision not to renew its contract, which ran until September 2015, was in part driven by uncertainty over the long-term viability of Phones 4u.

Its decision triggered the collapse of Phones 4u as it left the retailer without a single network partner.

PwC partner Rob Hunt said: " We can confirm that Dixons Carphone have agreed, with our blessing, to offer roles to all people in the Phones 4u concessions located in Dixons Carphone outlets.

"This agreement relates solely to staff and does not include the sale of any stock, chattels or the Phones 4u brand name.

"We're delighted to reach this agreement, thereby securing continued employment for more than 800 people. We would like to wish the transferring staff all the best in their new roles.

"We continue to engage with other parties regarding their interest in parts of the business."

PwC said that Phones 4u Care or Premierplan mobile phone insurance policies provided by London General Insurance Company, which is not part of the Phones 4u group, remain in force.

PwC partner Dan Schwarzmann said: "Insurance premiums are safe and we are working with London General to maintain claims and related services.

"Unfortunately there will be some unavoidable short-term disruption to the normal customer service and claim processes. We apologise for any inconvenience that this will cause."

He said further information about how to make a new claim will be provided on the Phones 4u website as soon as it is available.


From Belfast Telegraph