UPDATE 1-Verizon looks to cut 1,700 jobs, offers buyouts

Mon Jun 4, 2012 11:01am EDT

* May resort to involuntary layoffs if too few take offer

* Looks to cut almost 1 pct of its workforce

* Verizon shares up 0.6 pct on NYSE

June 4 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc is looking to cut its workforce by 1,700 people, or almost 1 percent, through a buyout offer for technicians and call-center employees.

The company, which has been seeking to cut costs in its declining traditional telephone business, said on Monday it could resort to involuntary layoffs if too few employees accept the voluntary package.

Verizon said it was too soon to estimate the financial impact of the buyout plan, which was announced to union workers in several states last week.

Verizon, which has about 192,000 workers in total, has been in talks for months with unions for labor contracts covering 45,000 employees, or about half its wireline business workforce. The workers went on strike for two weeks in August last year.

Spokesman Richard Young said the talks were progressing but declined to give any details.

The company said that it made the offers because of a "workforce surplus" in certain parts of its wireline business.

The company's shares were up 0.6 percent at $41.26 on Monday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

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