Consumer electronics makers cut jobs

Sony Ericsson and Toshiba are among those who have slashed jobs lately, in the face of sales slumps and fierce competition.

Mobile phone giant Sony Ericsson has said it will axe another 2,000 jobs worldwide as it crashed to losses of 358 million euros (£316 million) in the first three months of 2009. The company is coping with a slump in demand and the cuts will come under a 400 million euro (£353 million) cost-saving programme. 

These latest cuts comes on top of another recent round of 2,000 job losses at the firm.Sony Ericsson refused to say where the latest cuts would fall. It employs about 250 staff in the UK at Hammersmith in west London and Farnborough in Hampshire. 

Company president Dick Komiyama said: "The first quarter of this year has been extremely challenging for Sony Ericsson due to continued weak global demand. We are aligning our business to the new market reality with the aim of bringing the company back to profitability as quickly as possible." 

Sony Ericsson saw first-quarter sales slump by more than a third compared with last year as retailers cleared stock and consumer confidence was battered by recession. Overall revenues were down 36% at 1.74 billion euros (£1.54 billion) and margins were hit by factors such as a stronger euro and a shift in product mix towards cheaper phones. 

The company also lost market share in the first quarter - down 2 percent to 6 percent, compared with the final three months of 2008, and is gloomy about prospects for the rest of the year. It forecasts that the global handset market for 2009 will contract at least 10 percent. 

Meanwhile, Toshiba has announced that it is axing 270 UK jobs as it concentrates production in Poland. The firm is stopping the production of flat screen televisions at its factory in Plymouth, Devon. 

Bosses said the changes, which bring to an end 28 years of manufacturing in the city, will not close the plant completely, with around 50 support staff being retained. Andy Bass, managing director of Toshiba Information Systems in the UK, said that centralisation of production made sense in the face of "unprecedented economic pressures".

And precision engineering firm Renishaw is to shed 440 jobs world-wide, with most of the redundancies coming from Gloucestershire, where it employs most of its 1,500 UK staff. 

The firm which has expertise in spectroscopy, neurology and motion control, and employs 2,240 people world-wide, said it hopes to re-employ some staff at a later date and is maintaining a database. 

It added that its sales were hit by the fall in demand for capital goods in sectors like car manufacture, and said it expected losses of around £10 million for the second half of the financial year. Workers were put onto on a four-day week in February. 

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