German drug giant Bayer has confirmed plans to shed 6,100 jobs, or 5.5% of its global workforce, as part of the integration of Schering AG into its operations.

Europe will bear the brunt of these cuts, with around 3,150 jobs to go, but other regions are affected as well, with 1,000 losses in the USA, 750 in the Asia, Pacific and Japan region and 1,200 jobs in Latin America and Canada. Of these, around 1,400 will be in global research and development functions and 1,850 in production.

“We want to create an internationally successful pharmaceutical company with competitive cost structures,” said Chairman Werner Wenning, explaining the reasons behind the cuts. “These essential streamlining measures are to be fairly implemented in a socially acceptable process – balanced across the globe,” he added.

The primary function of the cutbacks are “to create slimmed down and efficient structures and do away with double functions and overlaps,” the company said in a statement, adding that this should strengthen innovation and growth and thereby increase profitability.

No surprise

The announcement came as no surprise, as when the Bayer’s 16.9-billion euro acquisition of Schering was first announced last March, the firms said that job losses could reach a level of 6,000 over the next few years, roughly 10% of the combined workforce. Bayer is not the only group that sees job cuts as a necessary way to improve productivity and Pfizer, AstraZeneca and more recently Abbott Laboratories have all announced plans for major staff reductions.