T-Systems, the IT services unit of Deutsche Telekom, reportedly gained union approval for a plan to offload almost 6,000 staff as part of a restructuring programme.

The company secured backing from unions to lay off 5,600 staff in what is being pitched as a first win for new CEO Adel Al-Saleh, who took the helm earlier this year and is tasked with turning around T-Systems’ financial performance, Reuters reported.

In its Q2 earnings statement, parent Deutsche Telekom revealed T-Systems’ had implemented a transformation programme at end-June designed to shed €600 million from the unit’s costs by 2021. The layoffs form part of that programme, Reuters said, with Al-Saleh looking to invest the amount saved in boosting the company’s position in digital and cloud services while reducing its traditional IT outsourcing business.

The new CEO reportedly originally aimed to shed 6,000 of T-System’s 17,000 German staff. Reuters explained the majority of the layoffs will occur by 2020 and T-Systems is also eyeing changes in its international set up which could see a rapid increase in staff at facilities in India. Globally, the company employs around 37,500 staff, the news agency stated.

T-Systems implemented its transformation programme after revenue dropped 0.8 per cent year-on-year to €1.7 billion in Q2, and EBITDA declined 11 per cent to €121 million.