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LAYOFFS UNSETTLE WORDPERFECT WORKERS

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The latest wave of layoffs at WordPerfect, the Novell Applications Group, is upsetting employees already paranoid about their jobs.

Calls to the Deseret News from workers who've watched their friends receive notice this past month carry notes of insecurity, rising anger and an increasing bitterness toward the now-parent company Novell.One woman said engineers at WordPerfect are being laid off while Novell is hiring engineers.

A letter from a Novell employee said WordPerfect workers should be grateful that Novell is keeping the software company afloat.

At the same time, WordPerfect employees feel Novell is counting on the release of PerfectOffice this month to boost sagging sales.

"I don't think people quite understand what's happening," said Melanie King, corporate public relations spokesman in the Novell San Jose office. "Nothing's changed. These are layoffs we predicted when we announced them last September."

King said the total number employed with Novell - and "it's all the same company now," she said - will settle out at about 8,500 worldwide for the company that posted $2 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter.

She said revisions are ongoing in each department and are anticipated into the new year.

By February, the process should be finished, she said.

At the same time, compensation and benefit packages for all employees should be on the same track by then.

King said Novell is working hard to bring the merged companies together and feels bad that some interpret business decisions as decisions meant to discriminate between WordPerfect and Novell groups.

"It's all the same. We're the same company," said King.