PARIS – Union workers at Alcatel-Lucent called on Wednesday for a strike in France on February 15 to protest against the restructuring at the telecoms equipment provider as they expect more job cuts than announced.
Unions said management had dismissed as “fantasy” a report in l’Expansion on Tuesday which said there could be 15,000 to 20,000 jobs lost, much more than the 9,000 announced as part of the merger between the U.S. and French group.
“Management has told us that this range was a ‘fantasy’,” said Alain Hurstel, head of the European works council for Alcatel-Lucent and a member of the CFDT union. “If that were true, it be a catastrophe for the group.”
However, Hurstel added: “We understand that there will be more than 9,000 jobs cut but certainly not in the range mentioned (in l’Expansion).”
Alcatel-Lucent said last month that cost savings of at least 600 million euros ($775.6 million) for 2007 would be 200 million euros higher than initially announced, which some analysts said could imply more job cuts than initially planned.
“We will work together as of now and will call for people not to work on February15,” said Jean-Baptiste Triquet, a member of the CFDT union.
Works councils, union representatives and management are due to meet on February 13, 14 and 16 to discuss the job cuts and expect to get the first details as of next Tuesday.
Of the jobs to be shed, l’Expansion said 1,500 to 2,000 would be in France and quoted industrial and union sources saying 500 would be through early retirement.
Alcatel-Lucent has declined to comment on the report.
On January 23, the group lost over a tenth of its market value after it warned that uncertainty created by its recent merger would hurt sales and profits.
The two companies began operating as a combined unit from December 1, making it the world’s second-largest supplier of telecoms network and mobile equipment after Cisco Systems Inc.
Alcatel-Lucent is to publish its 2006 results on Friday.
The stock was up 0.6 percent at 9.97 euros by 1035 GMT.