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Since Tuesday last week, Xerox SA, the French subsidiary of Rank Xerox Ltd, has been suffering its first-ever strike over what the unions denounce as management’s unwillingness to negotiate its plan for eliminating 478 jobs this year and next, reports La Tribune-Defosses: The climate is extremely tense; these national strikes constitute the first in the history of Rank Xerox in France, a manager told the paper; Tuesday and Wednesday saw 500 and 400 employees, respectively, demonstrate at the company’s Paris headquarters; the conflict began in January when the management announced the 12% reduction in its staff between now and 1996 with 246 of the 478 affected being post-sales support staff; the unions say the company is healthy and that there is no need for cuts, the company counters that the cuts are made necessary because digital copiers don’t break down so often – over the next two years, it says, the time required of technicians will decline and more and more machines will be serviced remotely; Xerox management has proposed some alternatives to the lay-offs, including reclassifications and a 20% reduction in work time for technicians; the unions say they could agree in principle an cut in hours if it is 10% and applied to all.

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