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ICL today says it will cut 1500 employees - about 13 per cent of its 11,500-strong UK headcount. It will provide a window period for voluntary reductions, which will be followed by "selected redundancies" to make up the total. The reductions are expected to be completed by March 2002.

Sources inside the company say the message has been received with disbelief, as it has been tightening its belt for ages and some units are running at a profit. Most employees have already spent their salaries on Christmas and are now stunned by this unexpected news.

A message sent to all employees late last night, which The Reg has seen, says that although the company has won some new business, significant declines in other business areas demand additional cost-cutting measures.

The message says that employees have until Friday, 11 January to apply for voluntary reductions.

Various other measures already implemented, such as trimming contract staff, have proved insufficient to handle the downturn in business.

ICL, the European IT services arm of Fujitsu, employs a total of 17,700 people throughout the EMEA region. It turned over £2.4 billion in its last financial year. ®

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