In what has to be one of the more predictable job actions of this new year, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) has announced the elimination of some 8000 positions as part of an effort to save some $1.2B in annual labor costs. While this includes 850 that were going under a voluntary separation plan already, it is painfully obvious that most of the rest will be of the involuntary nature. For all those out there who stand to be affected by this, good luck and I hope you land on your feet ASAP.
Sprint took the opportunity to note that complaints are down and that they remain committed to improving the 'customer experience,' which is a fancy way of saying that they think they are stopping the bleeding but don't actually have any numbers to show us yet - nor will they for another three and a half weeks when they finally release earnings. Whether or not they have turned the corner will be measured on a scale of how bad things look, because I don't think anyone on the planet expects great numbers then.
But as I said, this was highly predictable. Sprint either turns the ship around now or they never do, and CEO Dan Hess will surely pull every lever and push every button he has to make it happen. The big red 'layoffs' button was never going to be immune. Can they really save $1.2B in payroll annually while improving the customer experience?
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