Auto manufacturer DaimlerChrysler yesterday announced it would cut 26,000 US jobs (some 20% of its American workforce) over the next three years in an attempt to take the loss-making Chrysler unit out of the red.

The cuts will target 19,000 hourly workers and 6,800 salaried staff, largely through retirements, special programs, layoffs and natural attrition. They follow talks with US and Canadian auto workers’ unions to reach a solution which would not break labor contracts. Around 75% of the redundancies will be effected this year.

In addition to the job losses, six plants in North and South America will go into deep freeze over the next two years.

Explained new Chrysler president Dieter Zetsche: “Only by adapting our overall cost structure, workforce and production levels to the realities of the marketplace, while maintaining our investments in exciting products, can we establish a sound basis to ensure the long-term health of the Chrysler Group for its numerous stakeholders.”

More details of Chrysler’s restructuring are expected at the company’s annual earnings press conference on February 26.

News Source: Handelsblatt (Germany)