The automotive supplier ZF from Friedrichshafen wants to cut up to 15,000 jobs worldwide, half of them in Germany. This emerges from an internal letter from the ZF Executive Board to the workforce. Accordingly, the company plans to cut jobs in the next five years. The group management justifies the plans for the staff reduction with the drop in sales as a result of the corona crisis. Until the end of 2022, however, layoffs at most locations are excluded. At the beginning of the year, the ZF Group employed just under 148,000 people, just under 51,000 of them in Germany.
“From today’s perspective, we will have to adjust our capacities worldwide by 2025 and cut 12,000 to 15,000 jobs, about half of which will be in Germany,” says the employee letter. A ZF spokesman said: “We don’t comment on that.” First, the “Südkurier” and the “Saarbrücker Zeitung” reported on the planned job cuts.
April was “bad as a grotto”
ZF works council chief Achim Dietrich was surprised “just like the workforce”. The general works council was informed of the plans by the board only on Wednesday. “We continue to work on short-time work and fight for every employee,” said Dietrich. In the conversation on the previous day, the board spoke of a drop in sales of 25 percent over the entire year. “That is eight billion euros,” said Dietrich. Business in the first three months of 2020 went well, and April was “bad as a grotto”.
“As a result of the freeze on customer demand, our company will make high financial losses in 2020,” the letter said to the workforce. All of the measures taken so far have been far from sufficient because the crisis will last longer. “In the short term, the company will need additional employee contributions in order to cope with 2020.” The detailed planning will be developed in the next few weeks and negotiated with the employee representatives. The concrete plans are to be decided by August at the latest, insiders say.
In trouble even before the pandemic
How the decision to cut jobs, for example, will affect the Saarbrücken site with its 9,000 employees is still unclear. The company did not want to comment in the “Saarbrücker Zeitung”. ZF produces eight-speed automatic transmissions in Saarland. “The priority for us is to secure every job in Saarbrücken,” said Mario Kläs, head of the site’s works council.