Lucent: Oustings not related to MCI situation

Lucent Technologies has told 180 employees in its communications software business unit to either take a severance package worth 30 weeks' salary plus benefits, or be reassigned, a Lucent representative confirmed on Monday.

But the representative, Bill Price, said the action had nothing to do with a breakdown of MCI WorldCom's frame relay network last month that was attributed to Lucent software. The network served 3000 customers.

"It's totally unrelated," Price said. "Basically, it's a matter of, with a high-performance company, you want to have people with the right skills."

"These people were identified for performance-based reasons and skills match," Price said.

The communications software group, in Holmdel, New Jersey, is responsible for developing service provider applications such as Privacy Manager, for PC-based call management; and Online Communications Center, for call management and integrating PCs with telephones. The software attributed as the culprit in the 10-day MCI disruption is handled by Lucent's data networking group, Price said.

In addition to the 180 persons being asked to leave or be reassigned, the communications software group in July terminated 80 persons involuntarily, Price said.

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