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GTE plans to cut 225 technical jobs locally

GTE Corp. intends to cut 225 technical jobs from its local work force by this fall, the company told employees Thursday. Employees in the affected areas will be given the option of accepting either early retirement or termination packages, said Jan Morris, a spokeswoman in Tampa for GTE Florida Inc.

However, if too few staffers choose the unspecified incentive packages, Morris said, layoffs are possible.

"No one has received a pink slip," Morris said. "But we don't know how many employees will choose the options, and we may have to take further steps from there."

Morris said the cuts are necessary because an increasingly modern telephone network requires fewer maintenance workers.

GTE has invested $1.7-billion since 1985 to improve and support its telecommunications network, including state-of-the-art digital switches and fiber optics, Morris said.

Mostly hourly workers will be affected by the cutbacks, she said.

Included are 125 equipment technicians, representing 10 percent of that job classification. Those technicians maintain central office equipment and switches.

Also, Morris said, 100 facility maintainers' positions will be cut, or 7 percent of that group. They repair cables and install business and residential phones.

As part of the consolidation, GTE will merge work groups now in downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg into an existing central office in west Tampa, Morris said.

Also, she said, remaining equipment technicians will need to be retrained for other technical jobs as their work is outmoded by new equipment.