Robert Bosch Corp. reportedly intends to lay off more than 500 workers at its factory in St Josephs, Michigan, starting next year.

Most of the anticipated 530 layoffs will come from the factory’s disc brake machining and foundry operations, the company said, according to the Associated Press (AP). The management met with union leaders on Thursday and workers were notified in letters on Friday, a spokeswoman reportedly said.

AP said the St. Joseph facility, built in 1952, employs 1,100 workers and supplies brake parts to US automakers – the layoffs stem from the need to cut costs and what the company called “relentless pricing pressure.”

“Our customers are buying these brake products from all over the world, and we need to figure out ways to stay competitive,” Bosch spokeswoman Becky MacDonald told AP from the company’s headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills.

The Associated Press said layoffs will begin in the spring of 2005 and are expected to be finished by 2006. About 280 of the jobs in the foundry and low-volume disc brake machining operations will be outsourced to various locations and another 250 will disappear due to business losses and improved productivity.

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The company reportedly also told union representatives it needs to determine how to “continue to reduce costs dramatically” in the other disc brake operations, according to a statement issued by Bosch.

MacDonald wouldn’t tell AP if that could mean more layoffs. “I won’t speculate on what could happen, but there do need to be discussions about how to bring down costs,” she said.

The report noted that Bosch announced in February 2003 that it was closing a plant in the Grand Rapids suburb of Kentwood, laying off about 1,200 employees.