AT&T and other US telecoms begin wave of layoffs
5 January 2018
AT&T, the largest telecom firm in the US, has announced a new wave of layoffs, which will begin in early 2018. This comes after AT&T laid off hundreds of installers in its DirecTV unit despite having announced strong subscriber growth. AT&T recorded $10.4 billion in profits in the first three quarters of 2017, after a $20 billion profit in 2016.
Just before the Christmas holiday, AT&T laid off 700 DirecTV home installers, according to a New York Post report. A subsequent report from the Chicago Tribune said the telecom giant cut an additional 600 employees in the Midwest. The company cut another 700 jobs in the Southwest region, according to an unnamed source cited by DSLReports.
Telecom firms traditionally announce a “Reduction in Force” (RIF) late in the year in order to have workers off the payroll before the New Year when their benefits and vacation time reset. While such RIFs traditionally hit lower-level managers, these job cuts have affected hundreds of hourly technicians.
AT&T has attributed the layoffs, which could number in the thousands, in part to “technology improvements” related to its declining landline voice and data services. The new job cuts, however, are just a prelude to the blood-letting that will result from a wave of industry mergers, including the proposed $85 billion AT&T and Time Warner deal.
The layoffs were announced shortly before AT&T announced it would pay $1,000 bonuses to each of its 200,000 workers and invest an additional $1 billion in capital spending in 2018 due to Trump’s newly passed tax rules.
AT&T effectively handed the Trump administration a propaganda tool to support claims that his tax cuts for corporate America and the super-rich…