GE Plans to Cut 6,500 Jobs in Europe in Next Two Years

Industries Reuters

 General Electric plans to cut 6,500 jobs in Europe over the next two years, including 765 in France and 1,300 in Switzerland, the company said on Wednesday.

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A GE spokesman in France said GE was sticking to its pledge to create 1,000 net jobs in France in the next three years as part of its acquisition of Alstom's energy business.

He added that the company was looking at job cuts at its headquarters in Levallois and La Defense, but not at Belfort, the heart of Alstom's former energy unit.

He said that unions had been informed on Tuesday and that talks would start on Wednesday.

The jobs concerned were mainly in support functions such as human resources, legal and communication.

"This is a plan, which could change following discussion with employee representatives," he said.

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He gave no details on which other countries would be hit, but GE said in a separate statement that it had begun talks with workers in Switzerland, where 1,300 jobs could be impacted by the measures.

Those cuts were expected to be in the gas and steam power businesses, which have experienced a slump in recent years.GE's takeover of Alstom's energy business - which includes gas and steam turbines, wind turbines, turbines for hydro dams and power grids - added about 65,000 employees to GE's workforce of about 305,000 and significantly expanded GE's reach in the global market for power generation equipment.

The head of GE's power division said in September the company would seek to wring out $3 billion in cost savings over five years from the Alstom acquisition.

(Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg, Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris and John Miller in Zurich; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)