Alcatel-Lucent cuts 200 Aussie staff

Alcatel-Lucent has confirmed plans to cut 200 local contracting and permanent staff, citing the completion of projects and investment uncertainties as the prime motivators for the move.

Alcatel-Lucent has confirmed plans to cut 200 local contracting and permanent staff, citing the completion of projects and investment uncertainties as the prime motivators for the move.

Despite confidence within the company surrounding pitches for the Federal Government's $43 billion NBN, the company released a statement suggesting one of the reasons behind the job cuts was due to "the current investment uncertainty across the Australian telecommunications industry". The news was first reported in Communications Day this morning.

In the statement, the company rationalised job losses for contractors stating: "Around half of this is partly due to projects coming to their natural end and business as usual workforce planning around peaks and dips in project delivery."

In the financial year to 30 June 2009, Alcatel-Lucent's Australian division increased revenue by $43 million to reach a total of $861 million. However, the company's bottom line took a hit, falling from last year's high of $44.7 million to $10.2 million. Its international operations also struggled, posting a net loss just over €5.2 billion in December, with revenue down in the second quarter of this year, dropping 6.9 per cent to €3.598 billion.

The move comes almost a year after the Australian ICT industry reduced staff numbers in December of last year, with at least 18 companies laying off over 2400 staff members between them and a further 14 companies reducing undisclosed staff numbers.

During this time, one of Alcatel-Lucent's biggest competitors, Ericsson, also announced plans to reduce staff. The move saw almost 20 per cent of its Australian and New Zealand staff leave, halving its contractor numbers from 400 and reducing the permanent workforce by 100 between December 2008 and June 2009.

Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year faced a potentially disastrous situation after Telstra was ousted from the Federal Government's original $4.7 billion National Broadband Network proposal. The company had appeared to be relying on Telstra's role in the NBN to give it a spot in the fibre-to-the-home roll out.

However, Alcatel-Lucent is now perceived as a likely contender for future NBN contracts.