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MCI WorldCom set to axe up to 4000 jobs

Or will CEO Bernie Ebbers keep his word...

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Around 3700 MCI WorldCom employees will be up for grabs to competitors, due to predicted layoffs following the merger. According to telecom and research analysts, WorldCom's $37 million acquisition of MCI will lead to expense cuts and the trimming of duplicate areas in the two companies. The most likely affected areas are network and line costs. WorldCom is also seen as a leaner company, with lower expenses than MCI. MCI WorldCom's CEO, Bernie Ebbers, promised there would be no layoffs as a result of the merger. But Eric Paulak, an analyst at Gartner Group, said Ebbers had trimmed the "fat" or overlap. "Those 4000 synergies Bernie Ebbers talked about -- they are people," he added. The job cuts come as no surprise -- they're part of the customary post-merger fallout. But the telecomms giant stated the review of the merged company was "still ongoing", suggesting further cuts may yet be announced. Those being given the boot may be snapped up by WorldCom's competitors, such as Qwest and Level 3 Communications, both of which are hiring. Paulak said: "Big companies are trimming down, but start-ups are building up." ®

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