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Verizon notifies about 3,000 workers that they will have to transfer or find different jobs

SAN FRANCISCO - About 3,000 Verizon Wireless workers will have to transfer to different offices or find new jobs as part of a shake-up that will close five of the company's customer call centres.

The changes announced Wednesday affect Verizon offices in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Verizon is closing customer service centres in some of those states and changing the types of jobs located in other states, said company spokesman Paul Macchia.

The upheaval imperils the current jobs of about 4 per cent of the 73,000 people who work for Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier. Workers who don't want to move or can't find different jobs within Verizon will receive severance packages, Macchia said.

Verizon is making the changes amid signs that competition is heating up in the wireless market. Rivals AT&T Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. all have been rolling out less-expensive subscription plans in an attempt to lure away each other's customers. But Macchia said the reorganization wasn't spurred by anything Verizon's competition has been doing.

Verizon doesn't regard this reorganization as a cost-cutting measure because the company plans to fill all the openings created by the reorganization. Some savings could still be realized by closing five of Verizon's 31 customer call centres.

The closures are supposed to be completed by early May.

The 3,000 Verizon employees who must transfer or find new jobs work in: Alpharetta, Ga.; Cranberry Woods and Warrendale, Pa.; Hanover, Md.; Irvine, Calif.; and Meriden and Wallingford, Conn.

An additional 2,200 employees are being moved to offices that a short drive from the current locations, according to Macchia.

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