Blaming a global economic downturn and less demand for nuclear products, Westinghouse Electric Co. is whittling its workforce for the second time in less than a year.
Westinghouse spokesman Vaughn Gilbert said the company on Tuesday informed employees that it would eliminate 665 positions worldwide. The number constitutes about 5 percent of the company’s workforce of 13,300 employees in 17 countries, Gilbert said.
He noted the eliminations include open positions that have not been filled.
Gilbert did not know how the layoffs would affect employees at the Westinghouse headquarters in Cranberry. He expected the eliminations to impact all operations across the globe.
“At this point, we are working through the details,” he said. “It is not focused on any one location or segment of the business,” he said.
The reductions were a result of the company analyzing its cost structure in light of a worldwide recession that flattened some of Westinghouse’s markets, Gilbert said.
Nuclear power plant projects the company expected to take place also were pushed back to later dates, Gilbert said.
Other factors affecting the business include companies investing in natural gas instead of nuclear power and the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan, which led to a slowdown in the nuclear energy business.
The company also eliminated 200 jobs last May, with the majority of the layoffs taking place in Western Pennsylvania, where the company has the largest contingent of workers. All employees leaving the company received benefits and severance packages.
Gilbert emphasized the company’s employee numbers are still significant. In the last five years, Westinghouse has hired about 5,000 people, he said.
“We remain optimistic about the future and we continue to invest in the business,” he said.
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