Etisalat affiliate rejects job cuts

Pakistan Telecom opposes voluntary retirement scheme following 25% drop in operator's profit.

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By  Reuters Published  September 19, 2007

Workers at Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) will resist plans by UAE-based Etisalat to cut jobs at its Pakistani affiliate, a union leader said on Wednesday.

Etisalat said on Tuesday it was planning a voluntary retirement scheme at PTCL, Pakistan's largest telecoms provider, to reduce staff numbers and boost "efficiencies".

"We are opposed to any such plans and will resist them," said Haji Khan Bhatti, a central PTCL union leader.

"We will hold protests and will go on strike if any such move is started by the management," he said.

Etisalat, which manages PTCL and has a 26% stake in it, said it was planning to reduce the workforce at the Pakistani company days after it reported a 25% drop in profit in the year to June 30.

State-controlled PTCL employs 65,000 people and has 5.7 million customers, according to its website.

Etisalat is the third-biggest Gulf Arab telecom firm by market value. Chairman Mohammed Omran told Reuters this month Etisalat was interested in raising its stake in Pakistan Telecom to 51%.

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