Nortel cuts another 3,200 jobs, more possible

Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:35pm EST
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ailing telecom equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp made good on its plans to slash more jobs on Wednesday, cutting another 3,200 workers worldwide as it continues its fight to survive under the cover of bankruptcy protection.

The cuts represent roughly 10 percent of Nortel's workforce of more than 30,000. At the peak of the tech boom in 2000, the company employed more than 90,000 people.

The laid off employees will not get severance payouts, which the cash-strapped company suspended when it filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

"We do not have the flexibility, particularly in North America -- Canada and the U.S. -- for us to be paying severance pay," Chief Executive Mike Zafirovski told Reuters, adding that the company will respect whatever country-specific legal obligations it has to its staff.

The latest cuts come just weeks after Nortel -- North America's biggest maker of telephone equipment -- warned in a court filing that it was working on a "detailed plan" for more layoffs.

Duncan Stewart, an analyst at DSAM Consulting, said Nortel continues to grapple with weakness in demand for its products, and estimated the company needs a minimum of 15,000 to 18,000 employees to continue in its present form.

"So in other words, no, we cannot say this is the last cut," he said.

Zafirovski said the company's view of the market's future is "quite limited" and did not rule out additional workforce reductions.   Continued...

<p>A Nortel sign is seen in downtown Toronto February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>