The worldwide job loss total continues to mount. Europe’s second-biggest carmaker Peugeot-Citroen said falling sales mean it will layoff 3,550 workers at its French factories.
At one of the affected plants, trade unionist Michel Bourdon was worried for the future. He said: “We were told that this factory at Rennes was the best in the group, but you can make a comparison between Rennes and the Renault plant at Vilvoorde in Belgium. Renault said that Vilvoorde was the best, in terms of quality, and look what happened to Vilvoorde, it was shut down.”
Across the channel, British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce has just said will shed up to 2,000 jobs worldwide next year, joining a long list of UK firms axing workers. Since the start of September, major companies in the US, Europe and Japan have announced around 220,000 job cuts as the financial crisis impacted the real economy.
Billionaire Financier George Soros recently blamed a lack of regulation in the financial markets. He told a US Congressional committee: “We are in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. The salient feature of the crisis is that it was not caused by some external shock like OPEC raising the price of oil. It was generated by the financial system itself.”
As the harsh economic environment forces employers to cut back on hiring, the latest figures from the US Labour Department showed the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits in the states surged last week. They rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000, their highest level since 1992.