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12,500 jobs cut at Alcatel-Lucent

Telecom equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent has begun cutting jobs across EMEA as it looks to reduce its headcount by 12,500 over the next three years.

The firm had originally planned to axe 9,000 jobs but added an extra 3,500 to that number, after reporting a loss of US$802.3million for its 2006 fiscal fourth quarter, down from a profit of US$496million for the same period a year earlier.

Trade union officials in France this week said management had told workers that it wanted to cut 1,500 jobs from its operations in the country.

The company, which was formed from the merger last year of French firm Alcatel and its US rival, Lucent, employs 12,500 staff in France.

Mazen Hamadallah, country manager for the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, said this week he had not yet been informed of any job cuts in the firm's Middle East operations, where it currently employs around 2,000 people. However, he claimed the region should escape any reductions as it was still growing.

"When you grow usually you do not cut jobs or you cut only those jobs that are really not needed, for instance jobs related to a project. When a project finishes, you transfer the resources, you reallocate them or if you cannot keep them, then you cut them. But today there is no such reflection on the Middle East," he said.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Patricia Russo described the job cuts as "difficult but necessary decisions".

She added that the firm would "maintain the appropriate workforce level" to serve its customers' needs.