Sonera job cuts halved

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In October 2001, Sonera, the Finnish telecommunications operator, announced, as a result of cooperation talks with workers' representatives, that the number of employees affected by its planned job cuts will be reduced from 1,000 to 500. The TLL communication workers' trade union does not accept the outcome of the talks, and is calling for the job losses to be further decreased through redeployment.

In August 2001, the Finnish telecommunications operator Sonera announced that it was to cut its personnel by 10%, or about 1,000 employees (FI0108100F), in a context of heavy debts linked to the overall downturn in the telecommunications sector and its participation in the auctions of expensive 'third-generation' mobile telecommunications licences in spring 2000. Cooperation talks with employee representatives over the proposed job losses started in August 2001 (FI0109101N) and were closed in October. As a result, the need for job cuts will now be less than expected, at 500. The rest of the company's workforce reduction needs will be met by ending fixed-term contracts, by internal transfers and through other kinds of personnel mobility. According to Sonera, 110 employees have already been redeployed within the company.

Sonera stated that the job cuts were motivated by the weakening in the sector's economic prospects and that the company is aiming, through these measures, to maintain its competitiveness and safeguard the prerequisites for its growth in the changed business environment.

The Communications Union (Tietoliikenneliitto, TLL) does not accept the results of the cooperation talks and is seeking for the redundancies to be further decreased as much as possible through the redeployment process. TLL has agreed with Sonera that a further consultation procedure will be carried out before the redundancies come into affect.

After the abovementioned talks, Sonera announced that its Primatel unit - which specialises in constructing and maintaining networks - had also issued a proposal for cooperation talks with workers' representatives, concerning redundancies for 600 clerical employees, or one-third of Primatel's personnel. The grounds given for the job cuts are periodical fluctuations in demand and developments in the firm's order books. TLL has expressed astonishment at the timing and basis of the new proposal for talks. In its view, the periodical fluctuations do not have any effect on clerical tasks.

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