US telecommunications firm Sprint Nextel said on Monday it would slash about 8,000 jobs in a first-quarter belt tightening aimed at saving 1.2 billion dollars.
The job cuts will affect all levels of the company and most will be completed by March 31, the cell phone operator said in a statement.
"The labor cost reductions are the latest action in the company's efforts to make its cost structure more competitive in the industry and to remain financially secure in a challenging economic environment," the company said.
The reduction in headcount includes some 850 positions expected to be eliminated under a voluntary separation plan begun late last year.
Sprint Nextel currently employs 56,000 people worldwide, a spokesman said.
Sprint said it expected0 to take a charge of more than 300 million dollars in the first quarter of 2009 for costs related to the headcount reduction.
As part of the cost reductions for 2009, the company suspended matches for 401(K) pension plans, extended a 2008 freeze on annual salary increases and suspended tuition reimbursement.