Marconi staff await their fate


Union officials from Marconi factories across the UK were holding urgent talks yesterday (Weds) after the firm announced a further 2,000 job cuts.

A spokesman for the company said 600 jobs would go in the UK but it was too early to say whether or how many might be in Cambridge, where Marconi has 300 research staff.

He said most of the jobs would be in management and admin.

The redundancies at the fallen telecoms star follow the 8,000 already announced this year.

Marconi's chief executive Lord Simpson, and the chairman, Sir Roger Hurn, who both resigned yesterday, are expected to receive substantial pay-offs.

Union officials attacked suggestions that 702,000-a-year Lord Simpson could get a payoff worth 1 million as a 'disgrace'.

'If any of our members performed so badly, they would be rewarded with the sack,' said a spokesman for the Manufacturing Science and Finance union.

'There appears to be one rule for executives and another for everyone else.'

The shake-up follows Marconi's dramatic announcement two months ago when it stunned the market with a profits warning and thousands of job cuts which wiped 4 billion off the value of the group.

It is now facing relegation from the top-flight FTSE-100 index after seeing its share price slump only a year ago the group's shares were peaking at 12.50, but now they are languishing at 54p valuing it at just 1.5 billion.

To make matters worse, it warned yesterday it expected to report an operating loss in the first half year of around 227 million rather than its previous forecast of breakeven.