Swisscom slashes over 600 jobs

Swisscom cuts 655 jobs Keystone

Switzerland’s largest telecommunications provider has announced plans to cut about four per cent of its workforce in Switzerland – or 655 jobs - owing to difficult market conditions.

This content was published on October 23, 2003 - 09:13

Swisscom - which is majority owned by the state - blamed the job losses on falling revenues and stalled growth.

The company said the cuts – which will take effect next year - are necessary to boost competitiveness.

"Swisscom is under continuing price pressure, increasing competition and in some areas revenue is falling," Swisscom spokeswoman, Pia Columbo told swissinfo.

The company added that structural limitations prevented it from achieving further growth in Switzerland.

Union anger

Labour unions promised to fight the job cuts, which they said were unnecessary given the company’s positive financial position.

Swisscom said everyone affected would benefit from an extended redundancy programme – a plan that has been negotiated with the company’s social partners.

It added that the company’s “Fixnet” and information technology services divisions would bear the brunt of the losses with 260 and 300 cuts respectively.

"Swisscom as a group is doing quite well, but there are certain groups, such as those that are regulated, for example, Fixnet, where there is flat growth right now and we have to cut costs," Columbo said.

In January the company announced it was shedding some 600 jobs in addition to a previously announced three-year programme to cut about 3,000 jobs by the end of the year.

At the time, trade unions reacted with anger with some 1,000 people taking to the streets in Switzerland’s larger cities.

Profit jump

In August, Swisscom reported that its net profit for the first half had jumped by 22.1 per cent to SFr952 million ($684.77 million)

For the first six months net revenue was SFr7.1 billion or 0.4 per cent higher than during the comparable period last year.

Despite the job losses, Swisscom remains positive about future prospects for the telecoms industry.

At a trade fair last week the company’s chief executive, Jens Alder, expressed optimism that the sector was beginning to emerge from its slump.

Swisscom currently employs about 20,000 people, about 1,300 less than in 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Job losses by division
Swisscom Fixnet: 260 of 7800 jobs
Bluewin: 40 of 340 jobs
Swisscom IT Services: 300 of 2300 jobs
Simag: 55 of 400 jobs

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