DaimlerChrysler to axe 6,000 jobs

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The Independent Online

DaimlerChrysler announced plans to axe 6,000 management jobs yesterday in the latest of a series of cost-cutting measures that will result in the car maker losing every fifth desk job worldwide over the next three years.

The cuts, which come on top of 8,500 job loses announced last September, were part of Daimler's drive to save the company €1.5bn (£1bn) a year in the face of stiff competition and rising fuel prices.

The move was the first major company decision taken by Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's new chief executive who formally replaced his controversial predecessor Jürgen Schrempp this month.

Mr Zetsche is credited with turning around Chrysler's fortunes in the US through job cuts and plant closures which saved $8bn (£4bn). "Our objective is to create a lean, agile structure, with streamlined processes that will unleash DaimlerChrysler's full potential," he said yesterday.

The main brunt of the management job losses will hit the concern's German headquarters at Stuttgart-Moehringen, which is to close. DaimlerChrysler intends to shift its head office to a new site at its main German plant at Stuttgart-Untertuerkheim and cut the number of board members from 12 to nine.

Mr Zetsche said as the car maker had agreed a no-redundancies package with unions, the job cuts would occur solely on a "social" basis, which is expected to cost DaimlerChyrsler€2bn in voluntary redundancy payments over the next three years.

DaimlerChrysler's worker representatives criticised the cuts. Erich Klemm, at the works council union, said: "Cutting jobs seems to be the board's chief means of improving efficiency."

The latest cuts were part of an attempt by the world's fifth-biggest car maker to recover from a catalogue of management and product problems which have dogged the group over the past two years.

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