Nortel to lay off another 3,200 workers

Job cuts are part of restructuring after bankruptcy filing

Update: A Nortel spokesperson for Australia told Computerworld the company will determine local redundancies within 140 days as of May 1.

"There is no actual date as yet... We want to make the decision as swift as possible for any affected employees," the spokesperson said.

The company could not release local staff numbers

Nortel Networks Wednesday said it will lay off 3,200 workers in addition to 1,800 layoffs previously announced as it undergoes a restructuring that is part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the US and a similar creditor protection filing in Canada.

The network equipment provider said it could not detail in what locations the layoffs will occur.

In all, the 5,000 combined layoffs will reduce Nortel's work force by 16 percent, from about 30,000 to 25,000.

A spokesman said Nortel could not promise that today's layoffs will be all that will be done for the foreseeable future. "We're still working on a business plan in our restructuring process," he said in an interview. "We'll keep you informed."

CEO Mike Zafirovski, in a statement, said, "there is nothing more difficult than notifying employees, and Nortel is extremely conscious of the personal financial burden this will cause affected employees and their families. Nortel is a company driven by people and innovation. But with the unprecedented economic environment and resultant impacts on revenues, significant changes are required to regain our financial footing. Tough decisions are being made to restructure the company and work towards a successful emergence from creditor protection."

Zafirovski also sought to assure switch and routing customers that Nortel has the remaining staff "to meet their needs." He added, "throughout the process, we are committed to maintaining current high service levels and appropriate innovation investment levels to ensure best in class technology continues to be available to Nortel's global customer base."

Nortel also said its board had decided not to approve any bonuses for 2008, but would continue using the process in 2009 on a quarterly review basis.

-With Darren Pauli

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