US cable operator NTL announced plans to axe about 6,000 jobs in Britain by the end of 2007 following its recent merger with smaller rival Telewest, an AFP report said.The report said about 80% of the reduction would take place within 12 months following the completion of the tie-up on March 3, it said in a statement accompanying its first-quarter results.
The announcement had been expected following press reports over the weekend.
Slashing the enlarged group's British workforce of 17,000 would help NTL to reduce its annual overheads by 'at least' 250 million pounds ($464 million dollars) by the end of next year, it said.
Listed in New York, the US group said that most of the job cuts would come through outsourcing back-office functions. Some 1,500 employees would be transferred to IT services giant IBM in July this year, company CEO Steve Burch told reporters during a conference call.
Burch said that although the exact details of the shake-up were still being finalized, he did not expect any jobs to be outsourced abroad.
'Of the 3,000 jobs we are outsourcing, we do not anticipate any going from the UK,' he said.
NTL said it was committed to keeping compulsory redundancies to a minimum, hoping that a large number of the job cuts will be achieved through natural wastage, voluntary severance and a reduction in the use of temporary staff.
NTL and Telewest had agreed their merger in October in a move that has created the second-biggest telecoms company in Britain, the report said.