(Adds TIM comment, detail)
ROME, May 17 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) has asked the Italian government to approve a temporary layoff scheme for 4,000 workers as part of a 2018-20 business plan unveiled by the group in March, a source close to the matter said on Thursday.
Under the state-sponsored scheme, workers remain at home for a certain period as the company adjusts employment levels to company strategy and market demand, but are not laid off.
TIM had been in talks with unions over planned redundancies for months but the negotiations were suspended in March.
Italy’s biggest phone group, which employs almost 50,000 people in its domestic operations, had been considering cutting up to 7,500 jobs in Italy through incentivised redundancies and early retirement, union sources have said.
The company also planned to hire 2,000 new staff and finance their contracts by asking all other employees to work 20 minutes less each day, the sources had added.
TIM said on Thursday the fruitless negotiations with unions made the request for temporary layoffs inevitable.
“This project will be analysed and discussed with the trade union organisations with the desirable prospect of swiftly reaching an agreement,” the company said in a statement, confirming it had made the request but providing no details.
As part of the process to launch the temporary layoff scheme, TIM and unions have a few weeks to reach an alternative solution, a source close to the company added. (Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Adrian Croft)