JDS Uniphase announces further job cuts

In response to continued sluggish sales, Ottawa-based optical network modules and components supplier JDS Uniphase Corp. announced it will make further job cuts after releasing its first financial quarter results for 2003 Thursday afternoon.

JDS’ sales figures for its first financial quarter of 2003 were US$193 million, down from US$329 million from the same quarter last year. The company said it will continue its “Global Realignment Program” in response to a continued market downturn that will result in further job layoffs and additional site closures company-wide.

There is speculation that the layoffs in Ottawa will be numerous, with the company anticipated to reduce its workforce there from the current 1,600 employees down to between 500 and 600. But Lori Goulet, an Ottawa-based JDS spokesperson, said the company wants to dispel these rumours, saying the total number of Ottawa employees will be “substantially more” than the figures being bandied about in various media reports.

The Ottawa facility, home base for CEO Jozef Straus, is considered a “centre of excellence” for its optical layer passive component and module design, Goulet said. It is also houses some customer service operations, and research and development functions, she added.

“As a result of some of the other site closures across the company, we’re actually bringing in some responsibilities to the Ottawa area. That will include R&D (research and development) for optical performance monitors from Toronto, fused fibre component product management from England and R&D for modules and amplifier components from San Jose,” Goulet said.

While some new responsibilities will be shifted to Ottawa, the manufacturing operations will be shipped out to JDS’ facility in China, she said.

It is not the company’s policy to give out projected job layoff figures, Goulet said, but she believes that it will take eight months to a year to complete the process.

In August the company announced the sale of its micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) company, Cronos Integrated Microsystem Inc., to a French company for US$8.5 million.

“While industry conditions remain difficult, we believe JDS Uniphase continues to navigate well in these turbulent times,” said Jozef Straus, co-chair and CEO of JDS, in a prepared statement.

JDS Uniphase is on the Web at http://www.jdsu.com.