Diesel engine manufacturer Cummins will lay off more than 800 salaried employees. But the company’s cutbacks will not affect its plans to expand in Columbus.
Cummins Public Relations Director Mark Land said the job cuts are permanent. The latest round of cutbacks at the company follows the loss of 600 salaried positions in December. The cuts include engineers, lawyers, human resource and communications employees.
Overall, the cuts represent a reduction of more than ten percent of the company’s workforce in less than two months. Land said the cutbacks will not affect the company’s plans to open a new office building in Columbus this spring.
“We are already very cramped for space in Columbus. We’ve got a lot of folks that are squirreled away in temporary space,” Land said. “So what that building allows us to do is to get those people out of temporary space. So that is going as planned. We hope to start moving furniture in March and there will be people in shortly after.”
Land said Cummins posted record profits last summer, despite struggling U.S. sales. Land said strong international sales were carrying the company until the nation’s economic downtown became a global economic issue.
“We entered into this recession in really strong shape. You know financially, our balance sheet was healthy, our products were very good. And we were very strong internationally. So even as things started to slow down in the United States and in Europe, we were able to offset that in other places,” Land said. “Over the last couple of months we’re starting to see weaknesses in places like India, China and South America. It’s gotten worse in Europe. So really, everywhere you look, there’re signs of economic weakness and it’s really difficult to escape.”
Land said the company is offering voluntary early retirement first and will then base further cuts on how many employees choose that option. Remaining employees will either see their pay frozen, or cut by ten percent.