TULSA, Oklahoma - Williams Companies started laying off some of its Tulsa employees Tuesday morning as well as employees elsewhere across the U.S. 

The company recently announced it was taking steps to deal with the sagging energy market.  It includes delayed salary increases, reduced hiring, and a reduction in contract work.

Earlier this month, the company said it would start laying off about 10-percent of its workforce company wide by the end of March and continue into the second quarter.

In a statement Tuesday, Williams Companies said the reductions are focused solely on sustaining the company's future growth and not related to the merger with Energy Transfer Equity.

These difficult decisions about employment reductions come as part of the company’s 2016 business plan, which aligns the company’s future growth with the realities of the current energy market. 

The company began implementing cost reduction initiatives in the first quarter of 2016, including the postponement salary increases, significantly reducing or eliminating hiring in some areas of the company and also reducing the number of contractors and outside services the company utilizes.

Overall, the reductions are expected to affect approximately 10% of William’s total workforce across North America. Some areas, especially those focused on supporting growth in the supply basins where we are seeing pull back in producer activities, will likely be more affected than others.

The reductions are being communicated to affected employees in late March and into the very early part of the second quarter of 2016. The company will provide severance, including benefits and outplacement services, to affected employees. 

The reductions are focused solely on sustaining Williams’ future growth and not related to the proposed merger with Energy Transfer Equity.