Siemens AG is considering further job cuts at its troubled networking and mobile communication units, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
The Munich, Germany, engineering and electronics company is reducing its global workforce in response to a sharp decline in global demand for telecommunication equipment.
"Discussions are underway with employee representatives and with the labor union, but no definite decisions have been reached," the spokeswoman said, declining to comment on the number of job cuts being discussed in the two units. "The talks are still at an early stage," she said.
Job cuts in Germany must be approved by labor representatives, including members of the IG Metall trade union. IG Metall is represented on Siemens' supervisory board.
On Friday Wolfgang Müller, an official with IG Metall, said in an interview with the daily business paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Siemens plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs in its fixed-line unit, Information and Communication Networks (ICN), and around 1,000 in its Information and Communication Mobile (ICM) unit.
If agreed, the staff cuts will come on top of the 16,500 already announced in the ICN unit over the past year and the 4,600, including 2,600 contract workers, in the ICM unit. The cuts, which began in April 2001, are to be completed by December 2003, the spokeswoman said.
A sharp decline in equipment purchasing by Europe's debt-ridden carriers has hit the two telecommunication infrastructure units particularly hard. Both were loss-making in the third quarter.
Last month, the company's IT consulting unit, Siemens Business Services, said it planned further job cuts after eliminating around 2,000 jobs last year. Siemens currently employs 438,000 people worldwide. Of these, 177,000 work in Germany.