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Eircom staff left stunned as axe falls on 2,000 jobs

UP to 2,000 Eircom jobs are to be axed under a savage cost-cutting plan.

The telecoms giant went through the biggest corporate bankruptcy in the history of the State earlier this year when it signalled 1,000 jobs would have to go.

Stunned workers have now been told the target for redundancies has doubled.

Eircom refuses to say why the number of job losses has soared to 2,000 -- five months after insisting just half that were at risk.

According to an email sent to staff yesterday, more than 30pc of the company's workforce will lose their jobs by the end of the year.

Chief executive Herb Hribar bluntly stated: "We have too many people in the organisation. Our costs are too high."

No compulsory job cuts are being sought yet, but those aged over 60 will be asked to retire immediately.

The company has already encouraged 1,500 to take redundancy or early retirement in the past three years. It is seeking the redundancies between now and June 2014.

It says it has initiated a "full communications programme" with staff to provide greater detail in face-to-face sessions over the coming weeks.

The Communications Workers Union stressed that any extra job cuts must be voluntary.

Steve Fitzpatrick, general secretary, said that "any reduction in job numbers are a matter for discussion and negotiations between the company and its workers".