Alcatel Workers to Protest Job-Cuts Plan Union Calls ‘Avoidable’

Alcatel-Lucent workers will take to the streets today to protest the company’s job-cuts plan, which union official Herve Lassalle called both “avoidable and amendable.”

The telecommunications-equipment maker said Oct. 8 that it will eliminate 10,000 jobs globally, including 900 in France.

“We deplore the absence of vision in the management suite,” Lassalle said on France Inter radio.

Alcatel-Lucent is speeding up a turnaround bid after thousands of earlier job cuts, restructuring and asset sales failed to stem losses. Pressure on equipment prices and slower investment from European carriers, along with competition from China’s Huawei Technologies Co., are forcing Alcatel-Lucent and rivals such as Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s network-gear unit to reduce staff.

“The company and its employees are going through a difficult period,” Alcatel Chief Executive Officer Michel Combes said on Europe 1 radio this morning. He said ensuring the company’s survival is his “top priority.”

The executive said he has put forward a plan that “gives the company a chance to revive itself,” adding that he’s starting a “social dialog” with unions and workers today.

Lassalle said the French government needs to step in and help protect what he called a “French crown jewel.”

“The government should be protecting us,” he said. “We have to expect something from the government.”

For his part, Combes said the state can help by “encouraging investment in the telecommunications industry.”

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net

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