Cisco preps the P45s for 500 unlucky UK staffers

Latest wave of software-inspired bloodletting

Cisco's UK staffers are beginning to feel the cold, sharp edge of the networking borg's axe, with up to 500 souls put at risk of redundancy across its entire local operation, multiple sources have confirmed to The Register.

Switchzilla had said in August that a total of 5,500 global employees would be chopped this year, amounting to a seven per cent headcount reduction.

But several sources claimed the UK - as one of Cisco's largest sales territories in Europe - was bearing the brunt of the cuts, with the video business unit to be slashed by 30 per cent, and the global service provider team by 40 per cent.

Many other contacts, including company insiders, told us the video business, collaboration and overlay sales teams had been singled out for significant reductions.

Its "restructuring" is due to Cisco wanting to reinvent itself as a purveyor of software-defined networks – and beef up its "security, IoT, next generation data center and cloud" units.

Cisco had said when it announced the redundancy programme last month that it intended "reinvest substantially" back into those areas of the business.

The firm hasn't been shy of swinging the axe in recent years, having slashed 6,000 jobs in August 2014 and 4,000 in August 2013. The cuts in Blighty are in keeping with its promise to lay off staff in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

In the 12 months to the end of July this year, Cisco banked $10.7bn (£8.2bn) in profit, up 20 per cent on the year-ago period, from sales of $48.7bn (£37bn), up three per cent.

One source said there is widespread speculation in the company that the cuts would be higher than originally expected.

"Some of the people I know who are staying have no idea how they can do their job. Every single person they interacted with has been let go. But no one knows because it has been kept very quiet."

According to Cisco's Companies House filing for the full-year 2014, the business had an average monthly number 2,047 staff but lists no staff as being based in the UK for 2015. One source confirmed that Cisco's current UK headcount is around 2,000 - a figure that used to be much higher.

Cisco declined to comment. ®

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