Siemens employees have taken to the streets across Germany for a day of action against looming job cuts. Thousands of protesters insisted the company be restructured without any job losses in the months ahead.
Siemens employees turned out in large numbers in Germany Tuesday to rally against massive job cuts announced earlier by the engineering giant's executive board.
In Berlin alone, an estimated 1,500 workers took to the streets in fear of losing their jobs at one of Siemens' gas turbine facilities.
CEO Joe Kaeser had announced in May that the company would have to slash another 4,500 jobs worldwide – 2,200 of them in Germany – in a bid to react to a rapidly changing business environment in Europe and to become more profitable again.
Kaeser pointed to the ongoing problems in the power generation sector as demand for gas turbines had decreased rapidly due to Germany's shift to renewables, but also as a result of slow economic growth in the rest of the eurozone and the wider European Union.
Works Council chief Birgit Steinborn said in Berlin that employees would put up a fight and resist management's plans. "What we need is innovation instead of cost reductions and job cuts," she told vociferous protesters.
In the city of Nuremberg, where another 1,200 Siemens workers took part in the day of action, Jürgen Wechsler from the IG Metall metal workers' union warned that the company was in the process of weakening some of the firm's core businesses for the sake of short-term savings.
"This is playing with fire," Wechsler said.
hg/sri (dpa, Reuters)