8,500 take Lucent early retirement package

Lucent Technologies on Thursday said 8,500 of the 10,000 employees who were offered early retirement incentives as a part of the telecommunications equipment maker's job cuts took them.

The retirement package was announced last month, and eligible employees were given until Tuesday to decide whether to accept it.

But Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus said Lucent is poised to eliminate even more jobs. Lucent has a workforce of 104,000.

Ambros said company chairman and CEO Henry Schacht "today told employees there would be further reductions." But Schacht didn't specify how many more employees would be let go and when.

"We've not yet sized it," Ambrus said. The job cuts would be in addition to the 10,000 layoffs announced in March and the positions eliminated through the departure of the 8,500 early retirees.

Lucent's early retirement incentives and other job cuts are aimed at cutting costs amid a sagging market and heavy competition from network product manufacturers Alcatel SA, Nortel Networks Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. Talks of a merger between Lucent and Alcatel ceased when the companies failed to agree on which one would be the lead company in the deal.

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