Industrial multinational General Electric (GE) is poised for a major round of downsizing, in a move that has been seen as a consequence of France’s banking crisis.
The power giant, which has already trimmed its French operations considerably, is expected to cut roughly 620 jobs within the next 12 months, according to union sources. Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin has reportedly been appointed to oversee the cutbacks.
The French branch of the conglomerate will primarily be downsizing its financial operations wing, GE Capital, as the company seeks to shrink its operations in finance in favor of other sectors. The GE Money division will be the hardest hit according to Syndicat National de la Banque et du crédit (SNB) union head Regis Dos Santos, who said that 400 jobs would be cut.
Dos Santos promised that his union would fight the layoffs.
An anonymous spokesman for GE France confirmed that the layoffs were planned, and said that the union’s figures were approximately accurate. The spokesman added that most of the layoffs were voluntary redundancies, and that the move had been necessary to “protect competitiveness.”
“These plans … do not foresee closures of any business or industrial plant but instead only a cutback in activity,” he continued.
Dos Santos, conversely, called the cuts unnecessary, and said that GE France’s financial operations are “viable” at the company’s current size. He added that his union, which represents financial services workers in France, would take GE Money Bank to court to contest the decision.
GE France has operations in fields as varied as energy, finance, healthcare, and rail transport. It employs some 11,000 workers across its branches.