Both Reuters and Thomson are layoff-happy organizations. Layoffs are seemingly part of regular annual plans. They don't just get rid of deadwood. In fact, at least at Reuters my impression was that internal politics were so ferocious that layoffs had little to do with merit.
When Reuters took over IPSA they sent over an HR manager from their UK headquarters who was obviously chosen for her vicious ruthlessness. Layoffs began with tearful employees being escorted from the building by two big beefy security guards. We all knew that layoffs were coming when we saw those guys enter the lobby. By the time I got the axe, a year or more into the purge, the system was a little more humane, but still pretty brutal.
At the time I was laid off I was in a management team of more than half a dozen extremely bright, extremely dedicated people. Most of our careers never recovered. Some went into sales, some took jobs with much lower responsibility. Only a couple eventually worked their way back up to lesser management positions.
If Thomson is successful in taking over Reuters, life does not look good for employees at either company. Lives will be uprooted, people will be traumatized... all for what? Layoffs are inefficient, a quick jolt to the balance sheet with heavy long-term costs. It's bad business and it's a completely unacceptable way to treat a workforce that has given a company loyalty and dedication.
It's insane that as voters we don't demand that there be regulations protecting employees from layoffs, along with regulations curtailing the outrageous compensation of senior managers. France has such rules and still manages to maintain a vibrant capitalist system.