Thyssenkrupp said it had reached agreement with employee representatives on the restructuring of German sites of its System Engineering unit.

A total of 385 jobs will be cut across these sites "in a socially compatible way", the supplier said.

Felix Bader, chief human resources officer, said: "With this agreement we have reached an important milestone in the splitting and reorganisation of Thyssenkrupp's automotive plant construction business. In record time we have agreed a viable restructuring strategy that gives the new business units created by the separation a competitive starting position as independent companies."

Separation of the automotive plant construction business began in early October. The former System Engineering business unit will be split into two commercially, operationally and legally autonomous business units in the current fiscal year. In the future there will be a company specialising in body assembly systems which will continue to be managed by Thyssenkrupp in the Automotive Technology segment. The current powertrain and battery assembly activities will be combined in a company which is part of the Multi Tracks portfolio segment of thyssenkrupp.

Both the separation of the company and the drastic slump in order intake exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis in the past fiscal year make restructuring in Germany and abroad necessary, Thyssenkrupp said.

The Body unit will shed 157 jobs at sites in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Saarland and Hesse. In the powertrain and battery unit a further 228 jobs will be cut at locations in Bremen and Saxony. A key component in this is the pooling of all battery technology activities in Chemnitz. The company currently operates a second battery assembly facility in Saxony in Hohenstein-Ernstthal. All the activities from there are to be moved to Chemnitz by the end of the fiscal year. The market decline and centralisation of the storage technology activities at one site will result in 154 job cuts in Hohenstein-Ernstthal and Chemnitz.

"From the outset our aim was not to abandon any technology field while nonetheless adapting our site strategy to the market conditions. Overall I am very pleased that we have been able to keep the job cuts slightly lower than originally planned. We have achieved this largely by utilising natural employee turnover and in part through internal transfers. This has enabled us to limit job cuts, keep important know-how in the company and still realise the economic goals of the restructuring as planned," said Bader.

The System Engineering business unit currently operates nine development and production sites in Germany. In Bremen and Langenhagen (Lower Saxony) the company develops and produces assembly and testing lines for combustion engines, electric motors and fuel cells. Body assembly lines are developed and produced at the sites in Heilbronn (Baden-Wuerttemberg), Lockweiler (Saarland) and Burghaun (Hesse). The company also operates two battery assembly plants in Hohenstein-Ernstthal and Chemnitz (Saxony). In addition lightweighting solutions for vehicles are developed and produced at the sites in Muehlacker and Weinsberg (Baden-Württemberg). In total almost 3,000 employees currently work in automotive plant construction at Thyssenkrupp in Germany.

Thyssenkrupp to 'realign' automotive system engineering