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Siemens siphons off 17,000 jobs

Battening down the hatches

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German engineering group Siemens is to lay off 17,000 workers from its 400,000 workforce, including 6,450 jobs in Germany alone, as part of an effort to save €1.2 billion.

Trade union IG Metall had anticipated only 10,000 jobs as part of a broad revamp of the company's operations. The world economy and oil prices are adding to the pressure to act, CEO Peter Loescher told Bild newspaper. "We have to batten down the hatches," he said.

Executives in the middle and upper management will be mostly affected by the job cuts, as Siemens had already had cut thousands of production jobs. In Germany alone, 1,330 jobs may be lost in Erlangen, 900 in Munich, 600 in Nuremberg and 340 in Berlin. The mobility traffic unit will also be affected, according to Die Welt.

The German cuts would be spread over two years. Compulsory redundancies are the very last resort, Siemens said.

Loescher, who took the helm about a year ago, has already squeezed nine operating units into three - energy, industry and health care. Many jobs at Siemens these days are ICT-related. In February Siemens said it would cut 6,800 jobs in Siemens Enterprise Communications, a maker of corporate phone networks.

In related news, Philips is thinking of closing down its LCD factories in Bruges (Belgium) and Dreux (France) and moving its entire LCD production to Eastern Europe.

The Belgian trade union BBTK says it has detailed plans of the pending reorganisation. However, Philips says that at this moment it is only a study. In Bruges, should such a rejig go ahead, 150 to 500 jobs could be affected.

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