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Telus announces 6,000-person layoff, reports 61% drop in Q2 net income

Telus Corp. says it is cutting 6,000 jobs.

Telus Corp. says it is cutting 6,000 jobs.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications company said the reduction announced Friday includes 4,000 workers at its main Telus business and another 2,000 at Telus International.

The cuts were made with “a very heavy heart” and prompted by the “evolving regulatory, competitive and macroeconomic environment,” Darren Entwistle, the company’s president and chief executive, said.

“Against the backdrop of rapid transformation in our industry and the ways in which our customers want to engage with us, today we are announcing a significant investment in an extensive efficiency and effectiveness initiative across Telus,” he said in a news release.

He added that Telus will also offer early retirement and voluntary departure packages.

The company had 108,500 workers at the end of last year, financial markets data firm Refinitiv said.

Telus’ plans to reduce its workforce were announced at the same time as the company revealed its second-quarter net income fell almost 61 per cent from the same period last year to $196 million.

The company’s net income amounted to 14 cents per share for the quarter ended June 30 compared with 34 cents per share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Yet Entwistle positioned the company’s strategy of building out broadband networks, digitizing operations and streamlining costs as “winning.”

“Our resilience and ability to embrace change and continuously evolve the way we operate are cornerstones of our Telus culture and will continue to fuel our future success,” he said.

His cut comes as telecommunications businesses are striving to streamline their operations as they grapple with regulatory action amid soaring interest rates and stubbornly high inflation.

Fellow telecommunications giant BCE Inc. said in mid-June that it would slash 1,300 positions, including six per cent of its media arm. It blamed the job cuts on a challenging public policy and regulatory environment, raising specific concerns about Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, and Bill C-18, the Online News Act.

The Online Streaming Act aims to regulate streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ and require them to contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian content.

The Online News Act, which passed this year, forced Google and Meta to pay news publishers for content they link to on their platforms.

Like Telus and Bell, Rogers Communications Inc. has also taken a closer look at its workforce in recent months.

It told staff in a memo last month that it would offer voluntary departure packages as it worked to eliminate duplication in its businesses following the closure of its deal to buy Shaw Communications Inc.

When the memo was sent, the company did not say how many employees would be affected by the voluntary departure program, but confirmed “a small percentage” left involuntarily since the combination with Shaw.

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