Cellcom cuts up to 200 middle management jobs

Cellcom is cutting 150 to 200 jobs as part of its strategy to place more of an emphasis on customer services, sources close to the company said Thursday. The move is the latest in a round of cuts that has hit the cellular industry in the last year. Since taking the reins at the company in February 2005, Cellcom CEO Amos Shapira initiated a reorganization designed to strengthen its customer services and recently hired 100 workers in that department. This round of layoffs will affect middle management and will leave Cellcom with a work force of approximately 3,700. The changes follow similar moves at competitors Partner and Pelephone. Partner Communications laid off 60 workers in late 2004 to bring its employee-base to around 3,600, while Pelephone, the largest of the cellular companies with some 4,000 workers, last year cut some 200 call center positions by combining its customer services and sales departments. A spokesman for Pelephone said given the nature of call center work, with a high turnover of staff, most of the affected workers were moved to other departments or simply not replaced when they left.