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The BBC's Mark Gregory
"The company expects a high take up of its offer"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Lucent to retire 10,000 workers
Lucent website
Lucent is struggling to adapt to tough trading conditions
Lucent Technologies, the struggling US telecoms equipment company, has said that it will offer early retirement packages to more than 10,000 employees.

The company, which recently abandoned merger talks with France's Alcatel, said the redundancies were part of efforts to cut costs.

Lucent expects its offer to be widely accepted, but declined to comment on whether there would be forced job cuts if not enough workers accepted early retirement.

The retirement packages will be offered to US management employees who are eligible for retirement, or close to it.

Larger pension

In the second quarter, Lucent announced a $3.7bn (2.6bn) operating loss and had promised that it would accelerate plans to shed 10,000 jobs.

Lucent first said it intended to cut 10,000 jobs, or 10% of its workforce, in January.

Eligible employees, who must have worked for the company for more than 15 years, will receive the offer on 11 June and must decide whether to accept it by 10 July.

As part of the offer, Lucent will add five years to an employee's tenure with the company and to his or her age so that the employee can retire with a larger pension package.

Lucent said it would release further details of its cost-saving plans when it announces its third-quarter results.

Breakdown

The news comes a week after the company called off intense negotiations to merge with Alcatel.

Following the breakdown of talks, Alcatel announced that it would be cutting 900 US jobs.

The company blamed tough business conditions in the US.

It plans to close a plant in Oregon and shift some work away from operations in Massachusetts and California.

Fibre-optics sale

Alcatel is also still in the race to buy Lucent's fibre-optics unit.

Lucent, which is under pressure to repay a $2bn bank loan by the end of September, is preparing to shortlist bidders.

It is thought to want a quick sale of the unit and aims to complete by the end of the month, according to bankers.

Lucent was formerly part of AT&T before it was spun off.

At 1455 GMT, Lucent's shares were up 20 cents at 8.69.

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01 Jun 01 | Business
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