German industrial group Siemens AG announced on Tuesday it planned to cut 16,750 jobs globally, or around four percent of its workforce, in a restructuring it said was necessary because of the global economic downturn.
"The speed at which business is changing worldwide has increased considerably, and we're orienting Siemens accordingly," Chief Executive Peter Löscher said in a statement detailing the cuts, which had been signalled last month.
A total of 12,600 jobs will be cut in the group's administration and distribution operations by 2010 to help Europe's biggest engineering group reach a savings target of 1.2 billion euros ($1.9 billion) by then, Siemens said.
A total of 4,150 jobs will be axed in production and development. The cuts will affect all three segments of the group — energy, medical technology and the industrial division, Siemens said.
Engineering union IG Metall representative Wolfgang Niclas called the planned job cuts "unacceptable for a company earning billions in profits and with brimming order books."
The savings program is a response to the problems that have dogged Löscher ever since he became chief executive a year ago. In addition to dealing with the corruption scandal at the group, he has had to contend with a weak share price which has slid to €70 this year from €100 in January.