Alcatel-Lucent cutting 1,000 jobs in India

French telecom equipment maker was said to be laying off about 9 percent of its Indian workforce to cope with slowing business in the country, but it has since refuted the claim.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

French telecom vendor Alcatel-Lucent will cut about 1,000 jobs, or 9 percent, in India as part of its global restructuring effort to cope with dwindling demand for network equipment among telcos in the country.

Citing two unnamed senior executives, the Economic Times reported Monday the bulk of the layoffs will impact its key business support functions and managed services department. The latter, with nearly 7,000 employees, is mainly focused on managing Reliance Communications' CDMA and GSM networks as well as Bharti Airtel's landline and broadband networks.

The two sources added the restructuring exercise, internally classified as "Performance Program", could cause sizeable redundancies in India.

Alcatel-Lucent, which announced in July it will slash some 5,000 jobs globally to trim losses, declined to comment on the planned cuts as it has yet to discuss its plans with local unions and workers' representatives, the report added.

A company spokesperson did tell the Economic Times the restructuring will not affect Alcatel-Lucent's 3,500-strong research and development staff distributed across Bangalore, Chennai and Gurgaon.

The report also noted Alcatel-Lucent India's layoff plans comes as another of its key managed services customer, Uninor, has cut down mobile operations in Kerala and Orissa, which were both managed by the French company since 2009.

The telecoms gear maker is not helped by the uncertain regulatory climate in India either. Local telcos have stopped or lowered their spend on network hardware after the Indian Supreme Court revoked 122 2G licenses issued since 2008 and the exact date for the re-auction of the licenses has yet to be finalized.

[UPDATE: Oct. 16] In a follow-up report, Alcatel-Lucent told Times of India it has not made further announcements regarding the Performance Program and does not have other jobs cuts planned beyond the 5,000 it revealed in July.

It also reiterated its commitment to the India market. "India is an important research and development center and market for Alcatel-Lucent globally. Our commitment to building India's broadband infrastructure remains unchanged," the company said.


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