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C&W braces itself for 'year of hell'

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Workers at Cable & Wireless (C&W) are bracing themselves for another round of job cuts as execs prepare for a "year of hell".

An internal memo from UK boss John Pluthero seen by the Sunday Times talks of a massive shake-up at the business that will test the resolve of the most loyal employees.

The business today is in "bad shape", wrote Pluthero. "Congratulations, we work for an underperforming business in a crappy industry and it's going to be hell for the next 12 months."

If employees aren't up for the fight, he went on, then they may as well "step off the bus".

"This is no longer a place for the timid," he said.

On the other hand, if workers are go-getters who are prepared to take on the "steepest learning curves of their lives", then C&W is the place for them.

He wants the firm to flog fewer but higher value services - "think Giorgio Armani rather than Top Shop", he said - and is prepared to shut down parts of the business that just aren't up to scratch.

This tough stance just adds to the speculation that C&W could be about to neuter Bulldog's retail operation and become a wholesale provider of LLU services instead.

For despite large amounts of cash being ploughed into the business, Bulldog has only managed to attract some 80,000 users to its broadband service - way behind established ISPs such as AOL, BT, Pipex and Wanadoo.

And the ISP has also been dogged by a poor customer service record that culminated in hundreds of complaints and an investigation by the communications watchdog Ofcom last year.

A spokesman for C&W declined to comment on the newspaper report but confirmed the memo was genuine. C&W is due to publish a business update tomorrow outlining the way forward for its UK business, including LLU and Bulldog. ®

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