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Belt tightening and client info Swisscom reports job cuts, data breach

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Swisscom already cut 684 jobs in 2017

(Keystone)

The Swiss telecom company, whose majority shareholder is the government, announced plans to reduce up to 700 jobs by the end of the year as part of cost-cutting measures. It also revealed a data breach of client information.

“By the end of 2018, Swisscom expects to have a headcount of around 17,000 FTEs [full-time employees] in Switzerland, around 700 fewer than at the end of 2017,” said a company statementexternal link released on Wednesday. 

Swisscom has raised its cost savings target to CHF100 million ($106.4 million) a year due to increasing competition from global internet companies. Last year the company had announced cuts of CHF60 million a year until 2020. The additional savings will be achieved by simplifying work processes and cutting jobs in declining sectors, according to the company. Swisscom already cut 684 jobs in 2017 but attributed two-thirds of the cuts to “normal fluctuation” by means of “anticipatory planning, careful vacancy management and retraining”. 

The job cuts for 2018 include the loss of some 100 jobs at Billag, the Fribourg-based company that collects radio and television licence fees. Billag is due to disappear or reinvent itself as the Zurich-based company Serafe takes over its job in 2019. Swisscom also announced that new jobs will be created in growth sectors such as the Cloud and security. 

The announcements were made on Wednesday just before the company released its 2017 results. Net profit fell by 2.2% compared with the previous year, to CHF1.57 billion. Revenue increased by 0.2% to CHF11.66 billion. 

“The pressure on the market will continue to increase in 2018. We will need to continue to cut costs due to a slight decline in our Swiss core business,” said CEO Urs Schaeppi. 

Union Syndicom responded to the news by asking the government to step in and reduce Swisscom’s ambitious performance expectations in favour of sustainable development.

Data theft

On Wednesday, Swisscom also revealed that 800,000 of its clients were victims of a data breach in autumn 2017. “Unknown parties” had gained access rights of a sales partner and were able to get their hands on client information like name, address, telephone number and date of birth. 

According to a statement by Swisscom, the data can be classed as “non-sensitive” according to Switzerland’s data protection laws and is already available in the public domain or on marketing lists. 

“Swisscom stresses that the system was not hacked and no sensitive data, such as passwords, conversation or payment data, was affected by the incident,” said the company. 

SDA-ATS/ac

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