Sprint Nextel to cut 8,000 jobs

And for those who keep their jobs, a salary freeze will continue into a second year. Plus, Sprint suspends its 401k match and tuition reimbursement program.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto

Sprint Nextel on Monday announced plans to cut approximately 8,000 jobs through the first quarter, as the economic meltdown cuts into the telecommunications carrier's business.

In addition, Sprint plans to suspend its 401k match in 2009, as well as continue with its salary freeze for a second year. The telecommunications carrier's tuition reimbursement program will also be suspended this year.

The workforce reduction is expected to result in a $300 million charge in the first quarter for severance payouts, but also is anticipated to save the company $1.2 billion in annualized labor costs.

Sprint said the job cuts will also include 850 positions lost through its voluntary buyout plan that began late last year.

While the layoffs are expected to affect employees companywide, the degree of the cuts will vary based on geographic location, with the impact expected to be less severe in areas that deal directly with customers, Sprint stated.

The telecommunications carrier is the latest in a growing list of companies to announce layoffs> That group most recently has included software giant Microsoft with 5,000 cuts, Internet search pioneer Yahoo with roughly 1,500 jobs and social media site Digg, which is cutting a small handful of workers, or 10 percent of its 75-person workforce.

In addition to the layoffs, Sprint also announced it will report its fourth-quarter earnings results on Feb. 19.