GE to cut over 1,000 jobs in French power operations

The General Electric logo is pictured on the General Electric offshore wind turbine plant in Montoir-de-Bretagne, near Saint-Nazaire, France, November 21, 2016. — Reuters pic
The General Electric logo is pictured on the General Electric offshore wind turbine plant in Montoir-de-Bretagne, near Saint-Nazaire, France, November 21, 2016. — Reuters pic

PARIS, May 28 — US industrial conglomerate General Electric said today that it would cut more than 1,000 jobs mainly at its gas turbine operations in eastern France, part of a wave of European layoffs as it tries to stem losses in its power generation business.

The 1,044 job cuts, long feared by unions, could become a political challenge for President Emmanuel Macron, who assured local officials this month that the government was following the matter with “the utmost vigilance”.

The cuts will be made mainly in Belfort, eastern France, the European headquarters for GE Energy, and in the Paris region, the company said in a statement.

“More than half the number of employees in the gas activities... are going to lose their jobs,” the mayor of Belfort, Damien Meslot, and other local officials said in a statement.

They warned of “a new hardship” for the region, which has been hit hard by the decline of mining and heavy industry over the past decades.

Overall, GE employs nearly 4,000 people in Belfort, including 1,900 in its gas turbine operations.

The company has struggled for years with slumping demand for its gas turbines because of low oil and gas prices, and the power operations were a key factor in its massive annual loss of US$22.8 billion (RM95.5 billion) last year.

In 2015 GE announced 6,500 job cuts across Europe, and two years later it revealed a further 12,000 cuts.

That prompted France to fine the company €50 million earlier this year, since GE had promised to create at least 1,000 new jobs when it announced the purchase of the power businesses from France’s Alstom in 2014. — AFP

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