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DENVER (AP) -- Debt-ridden Qwest Communications International Inc. will shift about 600 of its information-technology employees to IBM Corp. in an outsourcing pact.
None of the affected Qwest employees, including 280 in Colorado, will have to move or change jobs.
"All of these employees are being offered a comparable job with IBM," Qwest spokeswoman Kate Varden said. "They'll start coming to work as IBM employees with Qwest now the customer."
Other affected Qwest employees are in Nebraska, Utah and Washington state. Qwest did not disclose terms of the deal or estimated cost savings.
Varden said the work involves less than 10 percent of Qwest's information technology work force and is confined to non-sensitive computer operations, backup, recovery and monitoring.
Employees were learning more details of the arrangement Wednesday.
With Qwest struggling with $20 billion of debt, transferring some work to IBM could help Qwest trim costs, analysts said.
"Qwest's most critical near-term challenge is to reduce its cost structure," said Cory Jackson of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "Every aspect of the telecom-services industry is becoming more competitive. To the extent that Qwest can outsource noncore functions at a lower cost, it's definitely a positive."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)