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Lucent's job cuts to pass over Israel

Local subsidiaries say giant's 8% slash in 126,000-man workforce will not touch them

Lucent Technologies

(NYSE:LU) will be filing its financial reports later today. The company is expected to unveil a major reorganization including trimming of about 10,000 jobs. But Lucent's operations in Israel will apparently not be affected.

Lucent Israel marketing manager Ayelet Zalsman says Lucent's Israel sales branch employs 20 and is still growing. She says Lucent sees Israel as a strategic market, especially as the monopolistic phone company, Bezeq, is about to face competition. She said that Lucent is providing the Israel branch all the support it requires.

Zalsman added that Israeli companies previously bought by Lucent, including

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Chromatis Networks

and Wave Access, serve as research and development houses and employ about 200 and 150 engineers. All of these are key personnel and are not likely to face the ax. Besides, Lucent isn't going to let development staff go, only administration, Zalsman says.

Sources at Chromatis say it's business is as usual. Chromatis isn't about to fire anyone. In fact, it's in the process of recruiting additional personnel. Lucent bought Chromatis in mid-2000 in a stock swap that valued the startup at about $4.5 billion. But by the time the deal was finalized, Lucent stock had dived so steeply that the deal's value shrank to about $1.6 billion.

Avaya Communications

(NYSE:AV), formerly Enterprise Networks Group of Lucent Technologies, isn't concerned either. Avaya Israel VP Human Resources Reuma Sharvit Rivlin says that Avaya is an independent organization and maintains independent management. Steps taken at Lucent will have no impact on Avaya, either globally or in Israel.