The Beijing office of US telecommunications handset maker Motorola confirmed a layoff plan on Wednesday after the recent publication of its fourth quarter earnings for 2008. A spokesman for Motorola said in an interview that the staffing adjustment is still under review, and will be carried out in phases.
"If more departments get hit, Motorola will respond," he said. "The changes are designed to align staffing with the strategic growth plans under current circumstances."
Motorola reported a loss of $3.6 billion in 2008. It sold only 19.2 million cellphones in the quarter, down 53 percent from a year ago.
Although the spokesman revealed no specific numbers of layoffs, at least 350 workers in China have reportedly received layoff notices. A well-informed source said Motorola has made broad changes to its work force by axing 4,000 jobs in its vast international operations.
"Our Cellphone Department is the hardest hit," said a Motorola worker. "The software platform project team in China has been reduced from 450 to a current staff of less than 100."
Recently, the government issued a mandate that companies who plan to cut more than 20 jobs should report the plan to the local department of human resources and social securities. The Motorola spokesman said the company has submitted its plan to the relevant department in Beijing.
This is not the first time that Motorola has cut jobs amidst the deepening financial crisis. At the end of 2008 Motorola cut 600 jobs from a staff of 2,600 in its R&D department in China.
Almost at the same time, Finnish cellphone maker Nokia and the electronics company Philips have reached for the axe as the demand for handsets has dropped. On Wednesday, Nokia announced it would close a research site in Finland and temporarily lay off the whole staff of 2,500 on a rotational basis in its key Salo plant in Finland, affecting between 20 and 30 percent of the staff at any one time, while Philips will cut 6,000 jobs to fight the recession.
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(China.org.cn by He Shan, February 12, 2009)