Massive Unisys layoff to hit 1,300 jobs

Unisys on Monday said it was laying off around 1,300 workers worldwide as part of an “aggressive” effort to cut costs and return to profitability.

The headcount reductions have already begun and will continue into 2009, Unisys said in a statement. All told, the company expects to save around US$225 million annually through cost-cutting measures that include salary freezes, slashing its 401(k) retirement plan contributions and consolidation of facilities. Most employees will not get raises in 2009, the company said.

Unisys will take restructuring charge in the $80 million to $85 million range for the fourth quarter of 2008. During the third quarter of 2008, Unisys reported a net loss of $34.7 million, an increase from the loss of $31 million it reported in the year-ago quarter.

Layoff announcements are becoming commonplace in the technology industry. Outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that technology industry job cuts could hit 180,000 by year’s end.

Already enterprise vendors such as HP and Sun Microsystems have announced steep cuts. HP is slashing up to 25,000 jobs following its acquisition of IT services vendor Electronic Data Systems. Sun plans to lay of as many as 6,000 workers.

There have been 140,000 technology industry job cuts so far this year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

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