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Europe

Telekom Workers Protest Job-Cut Plans

Deutsche Telekom employees took to the streets to protest plans by the group to slash 32,000 jobs over the next three years.

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In Berlin, workers are fearing for their jobs -- and demonstrating

Union officials said about 6,000 employees of Deutsche Telekom demonstrated outside the group's headquarters in Bonn, and 2,000 employees protested in the company's job cutting plans in Berlin.

A total of 25,000 people were expected to take part in nationwide marches against Telekom, Europe's largest telecoms concern, officials from giant services-sector labor union Ver.di said.

'Unacceptable' move

The group's supervisory board met Monday afternoon to discuss cuts, primarily in the fixed-line business. Most of the reductions are expected to take place through attrition and buy-outs.

Uwe Ricke Telekom Jahresbilanz

Telekom board chairman Kai-Uwe Ricke

Telekom CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke had announced the job cuts four weeks ago. The reductions would save 1.7 billion euro in personnel costs per year.

But Ver.di chief Frank Bsirske said Monday that the union would force Telekom into talks on the matter.

Job cuts "at a company that lists record profit after record profit" is unacceptable, he said. Instead, Ver.di would like Telekom to replace the cuts with a job-boosting offensive of innovation, service and quality.

Protests in the streets

In Berlin, demonstrators armed with whistles and drums gathered in front of the city's town hall, brandishing banners with mottos such as "job cuts drive us nuts" and "a rotten fish stinks from the head."

Deutsche Telekom has cut an average 10,000 jobs each year over the past 10 years.

Franz Treml, acting board chairman of Ver.di, said: "We're going to ask the supervisory board not to approve management plans."

He threatened further strikes if the situation wasn't satisfactorily resolved, saying, "We could really get tough if we have to."

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