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THE NEW ENGLAND ANNOUNCES BUDGET REDUCTION

 THE NEW ENGLAND ANNOUNCES BUDGET REDUCTION
 BOSTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The New England announced its


intention to trim 175 to 200 positions from its 2,540-employee workforce through voluntary early retirement and severance plans, attrition, and employee retraining and redeployment programs.
 Along with other budget cuts, the company hopes to reduce its net operating expenses by $15 million, said company spokesperson Peter Harrington. Half those savings will come from its payroll budget; the other half from other operating budgets.
 Competitive pressure to keep expenses low was cited by Harrington as the reason behind the move. "As a whole, the industry has been cutting its overhead, and competitive pressures require that The New England continue to keep pace," he said.
 Only if these voluntary programs fall short of their 175-200 job reduction goal would the company consider layoffs to make up the balance, he said. The number of layoffs that might be required therefore would depend on how many employees take advantage of the voluntary programs, Harrington explained. "We're hoping that number will be small or non-existent," he said.
 The company has a history of downsizing through techniques which avoid large layoffs by relying instead on less severe measures such as hiring freezes, attrition, and early retirement programs, Harrington continued. "We care about our people. And when competition absolutely requires a scale-back in our workforce, as it does now, then we want to try to achieve those cuts in the most humane way possible," he said.
 In addition to voluntary early retirement and severance programs, the company is offering to retrain and redeploy qualified employees into careers in its computer systems division. A similar program has been set up for employees who wish to transfer to sales-related jobs as agents or employee benefit representatives.
 -0- 9/16/92
 /CONTACT: Peter N. Harrington of The New England, 617-578-2729/ CO: The New England ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU: RCN


CN -- NE001 -- 0156 09/16/92 13:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 16, 1992
Words:325
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