Siemens employees protested in various German cities on Friday against the company’s proposal to cut 6,900 jobs, according to a Reuters report.
Siemens’ human resources chief said the proposal could be revised after negotiations with the union, after the company announced on Thursday it wanted to cut approximately 6,900 jobs worldwide – close to 2 percent of its global workforce.
Roughly half of those would be in Germany, mainly at its oil and gas division, which has been hit by the rapid growth of renewable energy.
IG Metall, Germany’s largest trade union, called for the protests in Berlin and the city of Offenbach near Frankfurt, urging Siemens to revise plans it said would harm the company.
“We have concepts, alternatives, and we expect the company to have a serious talk with us, the works councils, about the future for Siemens,” said Klaus Abel, a senior union representative in Berlin.
Iris Gleicke, the German government’s commissioner for eastern German affairs, urged Siemens to strike a fair bargain with workers, noting the job cuts would be devastating for sites in structurally weak parts of eastern Germany.
“I expect that Siemens and the workers’ representatives would agree on a fair balance of interests,” she said.
Horst Schneider, the mayor of the city of Offenbach, where Siemens plans to cut 700 jobs, said the city “has a further right to exist in this global company.”
“It cannot be that the big ones always eat the small ones,” Schneider said.
Tanja Scorrano, who was among the protesters having worked for the company in Offenbach for 27 years, said, “We will fight for our work.”
Just last week, Siemens signed a memorandum of understanding with the Misk Foundation, at the Global Misk Forum. The agreement will see the pursuit of three new initiatives, covering an R&D fellowship scheme that will send Saudi students to key Siemens’ R&D centres abroad; building capability within the Misk Academy, the foundation’s professional skills training institution, for courses in advanced “Industry 4.0” digitalisation and automation solutions; and an expansion of the existing Misk-Siemens internships scheme to include Siemens operations in the US and the UK along with a five-fold increase in the number of participating students from Saudi Arabia.