Eircom to axe 1,200 jobs

Telecom giant Eircom is looking to shed more than 1,200 jobs as part of a radical cost-saving plan, the company confirmed tonight.

The workers will be axed over the next 18 months, but it is not yet known what positions will be affected in the former State-owned company.

The redundancies will be another devastating blow to the country’s beleaguered economy, which has seen unemployment rise to a staggering 11%.

A company spokesman said: “It’s part of our restructuring plan.

“We’ve got to reduce our cost base.”

The future ownership of Eircom was thrown into the spotlight this week after an Australian-based group of former Babcock and Brown executives made a cash bid for its parent – Babcock & Brown Capital.

It is believed the job cuts could save Eircom €130m a year.

Discussions between unions and management have been under way over the 1,250 job cuts for the last six weeks.

Eircom was privatised in 1999 but there have been calls this week for its re-nationalisation by opposition TDs to safeguard the company’s infrastructure.

Unemployment reached a staggering 11% last month in the Republic of Ireland, with Government officials predicting it could soar to 12.6% before hitting 15.5% next year.

Latest official figures showed a record 371,271 people signed on for jobless benefits in March – the sixth monthly rise in a row.

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