Japanese electronics maker Sharp announced on Tuesday plans to lay off 2,000 of its workforce in the country. The job cuts are the company’s first in 60 years and come as a result of a downturn in demand for flat-screen TVs, partly due to a sluggish world economy. Competition from Asian competitors selling cheaper TVs is also taking its toll.
A statement released by the Osaka-based company explained it planned to shed the jobs – which amount to just over 6 percent of its 30,800 domestic workforce – through a voluntary retirement program. According to Reuters, this will likely target employees aged around 55, as severance packages for this age group usually amount to a year’s wages. Workers in their 40s, on the other hand, would be entitled to as much as three years’ salary. The offer will be presented to employees in the first two weeks of November, with those who take it up expected to leave their positions in December.
In an effort to turn the company’s fortunes around, Sharp said in its statement it is in the process of “improving its earnings structure so that it can compete amid severe global competition by downscaling productions bases and branches, streamlining the headquarters, and adjusting employment to an appropriate level.”
Job cuts aren’t confined just to the domestic market, with the company planning to shed a further 2,400 workers globally by the end of March next year. In total, the planned losses will likely amount to 10 percent of its global workforce.
Sharp was founded in 1912 and expanded outside of Japan in 1962. The company made the first ever solar-powered calculator and currently sells the largest commercially available LCD monitor, the enormous 90-inch AQUOS LED Smart 3D TV
The electronics company is now supplying display panels for Apple’s iPad and is also one of three suppliers of screens for the Cupertino company’s next-generation iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled next month.