(Bloomberg) -- Telecom Italia SpA, the phone carrier targeted in November by KKR & Co., is weighing reducing its Italian workforce by as much as one fifth amid faltering profit during the pandemic and heightened competition in its home market, people familiar with the matter said.

Pietro Labriola, who took over as the ex-monopolist’s chief executive officer last month, is mulling a three-year restructuring plan that could include up to 8,000 job cuts, mostly through voluntary exits, said the people, asking not to be named because the plans aren’t public. Telecom Italia currently employs about 40,000 people in Italy. 

No final decision has been taken on possible job cuts and the numbers being considered could still change, according to the people.

Italian daily la Repubblica previously reported about the possible job cuts. A spokesman for Telecom Italia declined to comment. 

Telecom Italia will unveil its new business plan at a board meeting scheduled for March 2. The plan is aimed at spinning off the carrier’s landline network into a new unit focused on wholesale services, with the goal of gaining a solid revenue stream from regulated tariffs, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month. The plan could also see all of the company’s commercial services spun off into a separate unit, they said.

Labor unions have strongly opposed the carrier’s spinoff plans, saying the project puts the company’s workforce at risk. 

“The network spinoff is a mistake in every respect and all Europe’s largest phone carriers are continuing to own the most valuable piece of infrastructure, the grid,” a group of unions wrote on Monday in a letter to Prime Minister Mario Draghi seen by Bloomberg. In the letter, the unions called on the government to set up a task force to monitor the situation.

Labriola has also announced a project to turn around the company’s consumer-segment services and boost enterprise offerings such as cloud and cybersecurity services, according to a statement last month.



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