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Siemens announces worldwide layoffs as it revamps company

SIEMENS will be cutting about 6,900 jobs worldwide

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BERLIN, Germany - Grappling with a sharp drop in orders for power-plant equipment, Europe’s biggest engineering company, Siemens has announced that it will be cutting about 6,900 jobs worldwide.

The layoffs of about 6,900 positions worldwide announced by the company are the most sweeping round of job cuts in years.

The company is also planning to close factories and has said that half of the cuts will be in Germany.

The Munich-based company said in a statement on Thursday that it is shuttering two facilities in the eastern part of the country and putting the future of others under review. 

Siemens has said the revamp, which will affect about 2 percent of its 372,000 employees, is inevitable amid global manufacturing overcapacity for power and gas turbines.

The company’s layoffs come less than two months after the German general elections, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel ran on a platform of economic stability. 

Among the country’s biggest corporate employers, Siemens, has reshaped its conglomerate structure over the years in a bid to become more nimble, ahead of its U.S. rival General Electric Co., which is undergoing a steep transformation of its own.

Experts have noted that the plan to cut jobs sets the stage for a clash with worker representatives such as trade unions, which hold powerful sway at German companies because they make up half of the supervisory board that signs off on major strategic decisions. 

According to reports, the cuts are part of Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser’s broader push to streamline the company.

So far, the company has included merging its renewables unit with a rival, withdrawing from a historic lighting business, and the planned listing of its health-care division. 

The company said in a statement on Thursday, “At Siemens, 6,100 of the jobs targeted for elimination are in the power and gas division, with the rest coming in the process-industries-and-drives and power-generation divisions.”

Janina Kugel, head of human resources, said in the statement, “The cuts are necessary to ensure that our expertise in power-plant technology, generators and large electrical motors stays competitive over the long term.”

 

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