Oct.15 - French workers at Alcatel-Lucent demonstrate over plans to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide. But, as David Pollard reports, the Franco-American group says the cuts are essential to its survival.
Its bosses say the very future of Alcatel-Lucent is at stake if it doesn't restructure after years of losses. But these workers say enough is enough. They're being hit by a programme of job cuts and closures - all part of Alcatel-Lucent's so-called Shift Plan for survival. Ten thousand out of a total of 72,000 jobs are to be axed. Over 4,000 of those in Europe. It goes too far, says union boss Herve Lassalle. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CFDT UNION LEADER AT ALCATEL-LUCENT HERVE LASSALLE SAYING: "We want another plan today. The Shift Plan is not a good plan for workers in France. There is too many job cuts." The company says it has to be done if it's to invest in the next-generation technologies that could save it. Alcatel-Lucent has suffered five consecutive quarters of losses - and was 1.2 billion euros in the red last year. CEO Michel Combes says there's still room for negotiation on the hows of restructuring. But not on its key aims. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALCATEL-LUCENT CEO MICHEL COMBES SAYING: "The objectives must be met in order to save the company. Concerning the terms, the timing, and other measures, these are going to be at the heart of the discussion we'll be having in the coming days." Combes has set aside four months for negotiations. If they aren't successful, he says Alcatel-Lucent could eventually disappear.