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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 September, 2002, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
WorldCom cuts jobs at global offices
WorldCom graphic
Bankrupt US telecoms group WorldCom plans to cut 2,000 jobs - a quarter of its workforce - in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including 750 in the UK.

The company will also cut back spending on its network infrastructure, and close down unprofitable operations. The company hopes this will allow it to return to a semblance of profitability.

WorldCom filed for bankruptcy protection in July, the largest corporate failure in US history, after admitting that $3.85bn in expenses were reported improperly, thereby inflating WorldCom's profits.

In August, the firm admitted finding a further $3.8bn in accounting mistakes.

In the UK, the company employs more than 3,000 people at its European headquarters in Reading and another site in Cambridge, but has not said how the cuts would be split between the sites.

Core retail, wholesale voice and data services will be maintained in the region, the company said.

Earlier this year, WorldCom had already signalled that about 450 jobs would be lost in the region.

US workers' claims

In the US, 4,000 non-union ex-employees of WorldCom are still fighting for $36m (23m) in severance pay.

The company has petitioned the courts to allow it to pay everything it owes in medical insurance, vacation pay and severance.

A company in US bankruptcy protection caps severance at $4,650 for each employee.

Beyond that, those owed severance pay are at the back of the queue when a company goes bankrupt, with holders of WorldCom's bonds, such as Deutsche Bank and AOL Time Warner, taking precedence.

The latest job cuts comes as the company's board is reportedly considering stripping former chief executive officer Bernie Ebbers of some of his multi-million dollar payoff.

WorldCom

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10 Sep 02 | Business
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