The electrical union representing Verizon workers said Tuesday that the communications company backed off plans to lay off 201 New Jersey technicians next month.

The proposed cuts — involving outside technicians who repair copper landlines, install FiOS and replace poles and cables — could have affected 40 to 50 workers in South Jersey, said William Huber, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 827.

The Mercer County-based union represents about 5,000 telecommunications workers.

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“It’s a victory for us and the people who were on the bubble to get laid off,” Huber said.

But a company spokesman said Verizon will try to reduce the work force by other means, including offering financial incentives for employees to leave and reduce the head count voluntarily.

“It’ll be offered in the next few weeks, but it may be months before we have an idea if layoffs are going to be needed or not,” Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said.

Earlier this month, the union filed a petition with the state Board of Public Utilities, asking it to prevent the layoffs and arguing Verizon does not have a large enough New Jersey-based work force to upkeep the phone system.

Huber said the union may try to withdraw the petition on the condition it can bring it back if layoffs again are proposed.

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