Today, troubled Sprint Nextel (s S) said it would eliminate 8,000 jobs, freeze salaries and cut its 401(k) match in an effort to save $1.2 billion. Sprint currently has 56,000 employees; only 850 of the job cuts will be voluntary, and layoffs should be completed by March 31. “Our commitment to quality will not change,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in the news release announcing the cuts.
Please. The commitment may not change, but the ability to deliver it will. Sprint, already a loser in the customer service battle, can’t cut 14 percent of its work force and expect that such layoffs won’t affect quality. Unless the affected employees are enjoying three-martini lunches and pushing paper around, or Sprint has somehow managed to replace the jobs those employees did by robots, that many people are going to be missed.
These are hard times, and taking actions to save a company by cutting costs shouldn’t be sugarcoated. Yes, Sprint needs to eliminate workers to get its costs in line, but no one is going to believe that those 8,000 employees were just so much dead weight. Sprint will report earnings on Feb. 19.