General Electric to cut 1,400 Swiss jobs

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General Electric (GE) has announced plans to cut around a third of its workforce based in northern Switzerland as the American multinational responds to a sharp fall in demand for fossil fuel power equipment.

GE aims to cut up to 1,400 jobs over the next two years at its GE Power unit in the northern Swiss canton of Aargau, where it employs 4,200 people unit focusing on gas and steam turbine production, but said no locations would close. The unit was taken over at the end of 2015 from Alstom.

The American industrial giant explained its decision by the increased importance of renewable energies and energy efficiency,pressure on electricity prices and intense competition.

A GE spokesman told the Swiss News Agency that the restructuring concerns itssites at Baden, Birr and Oberentfelden.

The plans are part of 4,500 job cuts announced across Europe by GE. Some 1,600 jobs are also being axed in Germany. The firm employed295,000 people worldwide at the end of 2016.

Recently, a Swiss delegation headed byEconomics MinisterJohann Schneider-Ammannand the president of the Swiss Employers' Association, Valentin Vogt, traveled to GE Power's Atlanta headquarters to meet withGE Managing Director Russell Stokes.

In early November, further discussions tookplace in Paris betweenStokes and a Swiss delegation aimed at minimizing the impactfor the Aargausite and to discuss new activities in other GE business units.

Thursday's restructuring news mirrors a similar GE announcementin January 2016, when 1,300 jobs were due to be cut. In June last year, GE reduced the number of layoffs to 900 out of the 5,500 posts at its Aargau sites in Baden, Birr, Dättwil, Turgi and Oberentfelden.

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