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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Cable firm NTL to cut 6,000 jobs
Family watching NTL cable TV service
NTL is seeking to expand the range of its services
Cable TV firm NTL has announced that it plans to cut or outsource 6,000 jobs by the end of 2007.

The news comes as it completes a 3.4bn merger with rival Telewest and looks to obtain cost savings of 250m per year.

About 1,500 call centre jobs in Swansea and Liverpool will transfer to IBM and 54 posts in Teesside will move there.

NTL said about 4,500 other employees would leave the company, many of them also seeing their posts outsourced, but it could not provide any more details.

It said most of the job cuts that did not involve outsourcing would go through natural attrition, voluntary redundancy and cuts in temporary staff.

It is difficult to fathom how cutting so many UK jobs will be good for NTL's customers
Peter Skyte, Amicus union

The firm - which has its headquarters at Hook in Hampshire - added that it hoped to keep compulsory job losses to a minimum.

'Devastating blow'

"Since we announced the merger with Telewest, we have consistently said that headcount reductions are likely," NTL said in a statement.

"We cannot avoid taking difficult decisions if it means a better experience for our customers in the long term."

Peter Skyte, national officer of the Amicus union, said the announcement was "a devastating blow for thousands of employees across the whole country".

"There is no corporate social responsibility in this announcement and it is difficult to fathom how cutting so many UK jobs will be good for NTL's customers," he added.

On Tuesday, NTL - which has debts of 5.4bn - reported an operating profit of 4m for the first three months of the year, and said it had added 25,800 new subscribers.

Last month, it agreed to buy Virgin Mobile for almost 1bn. It aims to use the brand for all its operations and become the first UK firm to provide a four-way offer of cable TV, internet access, fixed line telephony and mobile phone services.

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