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Nov 17, 2017

'We will fight for our work': Nearly 2,000 Siemens employees protest job cuts

Siemens workers protest in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2017

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BERLIN — Siemens (SIEGY.PK) employees protested in various German cities on Friday against the company's proposal to cut 6,900 jobs, which a senior Siemens official said could be revised after negotiations with the union.

Siemens said on Thursday it wanted to cut about 6,900 jobs, or close to two per cent of its global workforce. Roughly half of those would be in Germany, mainly at its power 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.

Siemens' human resources chief on Friday said it could modify its plans after talking with the union.

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.

"We will fight for our work," said Tanja Scorrano, who has among the protesters, having worked for Siemens in Offenbach for 27 years.