Ericsson cuts

‘It’s tough. Ericsson has been like a second home’

'It's tough. Ericsson has been like a second home'
Andraus Abdulahad has worked for Ericsson for 17 years. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
One in five Ericsson workers in Sweden will have to leave their jobs as a result of cuts announced by the telecoms giant on Tuesday.

“It feels really tough. This has been like a second home,” Andraus Abdulahad told Swedish news agency TT.

He has worked at Ericsson's factory in Borås for 17 years.

“The information has been a bit vague. It doesn't feel like we've become much wiser about what's going to happen. But I had not expected it would be this hard,” he added.

The company, which currently employs more than 15,000 workers in Sweden, confirmed months of speculation in a press release on Tuesday morning, saying it would cut 3000 jobs at its hubs in Borås, Kumla, Gothenburg, Karlskrona, Linköping and Stockholm, as well as 900 consultants.

Borås and Kumla are expected to suffer the worst hits.

“We have alternatives to these destructive proposals. As we see it, the company risks losing its competitiveness if it gets rid of skilled employees,” said Andreas Brissman, the chairman of trade union IF Metall's local branch in south-western Swedish town Borås.

Ericsson's president and CEO Jan Frykhammar said earlier on Tuesday that the company was going through a “large transformation” from hardware to software. It has previously announced plans to be at the forefront of 5G wireless technology in Sweden's tech race.

He called it “a cure to secure Ericsson's endurance and in the long term secure the company's competitiveness.”

Ericsson CEO Jan Frykhammar. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg said it was a “difficult moment for employees and communities affected”, but welcomed that the company had vowed to continue to focus on its developments of software and future tech in Sweden.

“Ericsson could have chosen to put their 5G operations anywhere else on this planet, but chose to do it in Sweden. A different decision would have been very ominous for Swedish industry,” he said at a press conference, ahead of visiting Kumla on Wednesday to speak to affected workers.

The government on Tuesday appointed dedicated Ericsson coordinators to liaise with the company and the towns affected by the imminent layoffs, and said it would work to help those losing their jobs and attempt to bolster IT and telecommunications hubs across Sweden.

“Those who need it will get education and help to move on to other jobs,” said Damberg.

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ericsson also said on Tuesday that it would employ around 1000 engineers over the next three years.

But the company has gone through a turbulent period recently. At the start of the summer its shares dropped significantly after reports in a Swedish newspaper claimed revenue figures had been exaggerated.

Operating profits for the second quarter of 2016 were also well below expectations, leading to long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg being fired in late July.

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