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C&W to axe half of UK jobs

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Cable and Wireless (C&W) is axing half its UK workforce and ditching thousands of customers as part of its restructuring plans.

C&W currently employs 5,500 people in the UK (including Energis, the telco it bought last year) but this number is to fall by between 2,500 and 3,500 over the next four or five years, the firm announced today.

Some 350 jobs are expected to go this year alone.

At the same time, C&W is planning to shed thousands of customers "as part of the reshaping of its UK business". As it stands, the telco has about 30,000 customers, but wants to cut this to around 3,000 large corporate punters and public institutions.

Under the leadership of former Freeserve and Energis boss John Pluthero, the firm has "the ambition to serve the UK's largest users of telecoms services with high quality managed IP services supported by a great service experience".

Publishing that plan today the telco said, if successful, it expects to generate £2bn revenue and double-digit earnings of around £400 million.

"Today, we are sharing our plans for the UK and our approach to execution," Pluthero said. "Customers are crying out for a better experience from their telecommunications supplier and we intend to give them just that."

News that half of C&W's UK jobs are to be axed follows the publication of a leaked memo at the weekend which told workers to prepare themselves for a "year of hell".

The document from Pluthero warned that the business was in "bad shape" and went on to say: "Congratulations, we work for an underperforming business in a crappy industry and it's going to be hell for the next 12 months."

Employees too timid to embrace the changes have been told to "step off the bus", while go-getters are preparing to take on the "steepest learning curves of their lives".

C&W, which also owns broadband ISP Bulldog, is to publish its plans for the business later today. ®

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