"Vous êtes viré." "Vous êtes viré." And you over there? "Vous êtes viré," too.

A French union says Franco-American telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is planning to cut some 1,490 jobs in France, about 15% of the company's work force in that country. This is part of broader company plans to cut some 5,500 jobs worldwide.

Several media outlets quote a union spokesperson as expressing shock. Reports indicate Alcatel will be delivering 1,000 pink slips to workers in India in addition to the 1,490 in France. Elsewhere in Europe, the roll call of laid-off workers will rise to about 1,800.

That would leave about 1,200 positions still to be cut. Worldwide cuts are expected to amount to about 7.2% of Alcatel-Lucent's work force.

It's all part of Alcatel's grand plan to cut costs by $1.6 billion annually by the end of next year, an effort the company must make if it's to silence critics who say its veering toward bankruptcy. Earlier this month, analysts hailed Alcatel's commitment to cost-cutting, and investors appear to be cheering the details leaking out today. Alcatel shares are up 5% at $1.12 apiece.


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