Global jobs carnage spreads as big firms sack 85,000

More than 85,000 jobs have been cut worldwide as the global financial crisis forces more companies to undertake giant cost-cutting initiatives. 

US-based construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar is slashing 20,000 jobs after its dealers drastically cut their orders.

The company – the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment machinery – reported lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. The company will lay off 17,000 employees after predictions that this year will be the company’s worst since World War Two.

The group also says it may report its first loss since 1992 for the first quarter of 2009.

New York pharmaceuticals group Pfizer announced it is acquiring rival group Wyeth for $US68billion, but will also slash 8000 jobs worldwide in the process.

Troubled auto-maker General Motors will also slash 2,000 jobs across two assembly lines, as it rushes to produce a viability plan for the US Government, in exchange for billions in loans.

Telecommunications group Sprint Nextel also announced a 14% reduction of its workforce – about 8,000 jobs. Home improvement retailer Home Depot will also slash 7,000 jobs.

The massive job losses may speed the passing of President Barack Obama’s $1.2 trillion stimulus package, which is undergoing scrutiny in Congressional committees. Obama calls for “swift and extraordinary” action, and says there should be no more delays.

But the job losses are not restricted to the United States.

Dutch banking company ING will dump 7,000 jobs as electronics manufacturer Phillips says 6,000 employees will be let go.

European steelmaker Corus says it will also cut over 3,500 jobs, but most of the losses will remain in Britain.

And Japan’s carmakers will announce 25,000 job cuts over the next two months, according to a Jiji Press survey.

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