Ernst & Young sacks 150 in Australia

Ernst & Young sacks 150 in Australia

Ernst & Young Australia has kicked off the new financial year by shedding 150 staff as a result of last month's takeover of Andersen Consulting.

Ernst & Young last week confirmed it had cut 150 staff, mostly former Andersen employees, to avoid job duplication in the wake of the merger.

"They have been informed of the restructure," an Ernst & Young spokesman said earlier this month. "Most of the 150 positions were Andersen people."

However, he said staff left jobless also included "some old Ernst & Young people".

The spokesman said most of the jobs cut last week were shared services and administration positions, such as Andersen staff who had worked on a Web site similar to one already run by Ernst & Young. No direct revenue-generating positions were affected, he said.

"Whenever you get any merger of two firms, you're going to get two people for whom there's only one job," he said.

"It is down to pure duplication."

The spokesman said all retrenched staff were offered counselling and outplacement services.

Ernst & Young had said staffing cuts would be minimal, and even suggested some new positions could be created, when it first announced its merger with Andersen in March.

Before July, the combined entity had about 4200 staff and 300 partners, including about 2000 staff and 95 partners from Andersen.

The merger between Ernst & Young and Andersen in Australia followed the failure of Anderson's US parent in the wake of the Enron scandal.

More recently in the US, Andersen was implicated in the revelation in this month that WorldCom had overstated its earnings by about $US3.8 billion ($6.79 billion) over five quarters.

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