US industrial conglomerate General Electric said on Tuesday it would cut more than 1,000 jobs, mostly in its gas turbine operations in eastern France, amid a wave of European layoffs as it tries to stem losses in its electricity production activity.
The 1,044 job cuts, long feared by unions, could become a political challenge for President Emmanuel Macron, who this month assured local elected officials that the government was following the issue with “the greatest vigilance”.
The cuts will be made mainly in Belfort, in eastern France, the European headquarters of GE Energy, and in the Paris region, the company said in a statement.
“More than half of the employees of the gas activities (…) will lose their jobs”, declared the mayor of Belfort, Damien Meslot, and other local elected officials in a press release.
They warned of “yet another hardship” for the region, which has been hit hard by the decline in mining and heavy industry in recent decades.
In total, GE employs nearly 4,000 people in Belfort, including 1,900 in its gas turbine operations.
The company struggled for years with falling demand for its gas turbines due to low oil and gas prices, and electrical operations were a key factor in its massive $ 22.8 billion annual loss. dollars last year.
In 2015, GE announced 6,500 job cuts across Europe, and two years later, it revealed 12,000 more layoffs.
This prompted France to fin the company 50 million euros ($ 56 million) earlier this year, as GE had promised to create at least 1,000 new jobs when it announced the buyout of the electricity activities to French Alstom in 2014.
? AFP 2019