AT&T is in negotiations with its largest union to axe between 2,500-3,000 technical staff in August as part of an ongoing effort to cut costs, although layoffs will happen anyway if no agreement is reached.
The telecommunications carrier and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, which represents 42,000 AT&T workers, are discussing a plan under which the company will offer up to two years' severance pay and other incentives to technicians who work on its phone and cable TV lines.
AT&T said that network maintenance had become more computerised and so required less staff, but that it also hoped to shave $200 million from its operating expenses a year as a result of the move. It recently said that it wanted to slash costs by $2 billion by the end of next year.
The CWA, however, contends that the cuts, which it claims will halve the number of skilled staff monitoring the network, will hurt the quality of AT&T's service.
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