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Atkins to shed up to 210 staff in Middle and Far East

Consultants Atkins are to shed up to 210 staff - 170 in Dubai and a further 40 in Manila - and postpone the company's global pay review by six months to October, in response to the global downturn.

Dubai has been hit hard by a combination of falling oil prices, the sudden deflation of its housing market and the ongoing credit crunch, and has shelved or cancelled several high-profile schemes.

The company has also followed the lead of Jacobs, and postponed its annual pay review, which was due in April, to October. Promotion of staff will continue as usual, however.

Atkins has a significant base in Dubai with some 3,000 staff - the cuts would affect up to 5% of its workforce there. The company is in the process of completing work on the Dubai Metro system, due to open in September.

The group's Manila office processes design work for other parts of Atkins' business.

NCE understands that Atkins is still recruiting staff, and some on redundancy consultation will have the option of redeloyment to other parts of the business.

An Atkins spokesperson said:

"Roles will be made redundant in those parts of the Group which are experiencing increasing uncertainty and worsening market conditions and we have deferred our annual salary review for six months.

"Atkins is a well managed organisation which has been performing very well as our results show. Our prudent management, quality of people, geographic diversity and breadth and depth of what we do means we are more resilient to economic slowdown than many of our competitors. We are not immune to this, however. We are taking action from a position of strength to ensure the future success of the Group."

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