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Siemens lays off ‘a small number’ of Charlotte workers

James Elrod, a machinist with Siemens, works on a turbine component on May 23, 2014. The German manufacturer is laying off “a small number” of hourly and salaried workers at its Charlotte plant.
James Elrod, a machinist with Siemens, works on a turbine component on May 23, 2014. The German manufacturer is laying off “a small number” of hourly and salaried workers at its Charlotte plant. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Siemens, the German manufacturer, is laying off “a small number” of workers at its manufacturing plant in Charlotte.

A person familiar with the situation said the layoffs are because of “a downturn in the industry” over the last few months. The affected employees are both hourly and salaried.

Changes in the global energy market include price pressures and cost structures that are no longer considered competitive, the person said. It is unclear exactly how many jobs, and what type of jobs, Siemens has cut in Charlotte.

Siemens employs about 1,650 people at its facility on Westinghouse Boulevard, where the company manufactures steam turbines and electrical generators for energy firms.

A German conglomerate, Siemens has an apprentice program with Central Piedmont Community College that has garnered national and international attention.

Soon after Mark Pringle, who is now retired, took over as the plant’s manager in 2003, Siemens’ local operation transitioned to “lean manufacturing” techniques that cut costs for building generators by 40 percent, the company has said.

The company’s Charlotte facility later underwent a major expansion in 2011 that doubled its local workforce.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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