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Virgin Media wields mighty jobs axe

Waves goodbye (but not yet) to 2,200 staff

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Virgin Media, the UK cable giant, is cutting 2,200 jobs - about 15 per cent of the workforce.

The cuts should mean savings of £120m a year by 2012 and come in the wake of a strategic review begun earlier this year. Most jobsd will go in the last quarter of 2009 or 2010.

Virgin said the implications of the proposals for specific departments or locations are still to be "finalised, however the company will be talking with employee representatives about its proposed new operating model. As the detailed impact of these changes become clear, Virgin Media will continue to collectively consult with its people and, wherever possible, look to mitigate the need for redundancy and offer alternative roles to those affected."

Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media, said the cuts were needed for the firm to "compete effectively". But he added: "We recognise that this brings with it significant uncertainty for our people and the communities where they work. Throughout the process, we will be communicating as early and openly as we can."

Last month Virgin Media renegotiated repayment terms on billions of pounds of debt incurred in building its UK cable network. The company now has to start paying the principal on most of the debt in 2012, giving it two years more breathing space than the original deadline of 2010.

Virgin Media shares were down just over 4 per cent in a falling market. ®

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