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Union says Alstom to slash 650 jobs

More Alstom workers are being shown the door Keystone

The French industrial concern, Alstom, is to cut 650 jobs in Switzerland, according to a Swiss trade union.

This content was published on October 7, 2004 - 16:43

The jobs are to go over the next 18 months at two of the company’s plants in the northern canton of Aargau.

The company has made no public statement about the cuts. But the SMUV union, which represents workers in the machine and electrical industries, says employees were informed that the jobs would go by Alstom management on Thursday.

Reacting to the news, the government of canton Aargau said it was surprised at the “massive” number of cuts, adding that the firm had already slashed 470 jobs last year.

The SMUV described the decision as a “slap in the face for the employees concerned”, adding that just two weeks ago workers had presented a package of measures aimed at securing their jobs in the towns of Baden and Birr.

The union also accused executives at Alstom’s head office in Paris of axing jobs in places where they would face the least political pressure, and called on the Swiss authorities to intervene.

Financial troubles

Another union, VSAM, protested the cuts but said it was not surprised at the high number of job losses, given the company’s financial difficulties.

The unions admitted that Alstom Switzerland has been struggling to attract business lately – orders are lower than had been expected, and a big contract that Aargau was bidding for instead went to Italy.

Job cuts in Baden in Birr have been expected for some time. Indeed, the unions had warned that as many as 800 jobs could go at the two plants.

Alstom has already cut 85 jobs at a plant in Neuhausen in canton Schaffhausen, and last June the company warned that a major restructuring would result in 8,500 job cuts worldwide.

At the time, Alstom Switzerland warned employees that “hundreds of jobs” were at risk.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Last June the company warned that a major restructuring would result in 8,500 job cuts worldwide.

At the time, Alstom Switzerland warned employees that “hundreds of jobs” were at risk.

The company cut 470 jobs in Aargau last year.

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