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Volvo Powertrain says 65 were laid off at Washington County plant last month

November 12, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Sixty-five jobs at Volvo Powertrain North America's Washington County plant were cut last month, the company said Tuesday as it announced a larger round of layoffs in Sweden.

Spokeswoman Ilse Ghysens said the Washington County jobs mostly were white collar and were from a range of departments.

Ghysens said the cuts were connected to the effects of a rough economy.

"It was a very bad downturn all of a sudden in Europe," she said.

The local cuts took effect Oct. 23, Ghysens said.

David Perkins, president of United Auto Workers Local 171, which represents workers at the plant, said the jobs that were cut were nonunion.

At its plant north of Hagerstown, Volvo Powertrain makes truck engines and transmissions for Volvo and Mack Trucks.

The plant now has 1,268 employees, Ghysens said.

Volvo Powertrain also announced Tuesday it was cutting 900 jobs in three Swedish cities.

"The weakening of the market for commercial vehicles, that started in North America during last year and was later spread to Europe, has now developed into a global slowdown," a Volvo press release says. "The global financial crisis has further accelerated the weakening of the business cycle."

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"We are now adjusting our production capacity to declining demand and also (taking) measures to ensure that the company is coming out stronger from this downturn," Volvo Powertrain CEO Peter Karlsten said in the release.

"It's indicative of a poor economy," Perkins said.

On Oct. 23, Volvo Construction Equipment announced it was cutting 850 jobs in four Swedish cities.

Earlier in the fall, Volvo Construction Equipment cut another 500 jobs, according to a company press release.

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