MILWAUKEE – Oshkosh Corp. said Thursday it plans to eliminate about 760 jobs from its defence division this summer, or 29 per cent of the group’s workforce, a decision driven by lower demand for its mine-resistant trucks and other military vehicles.
About 700 hourly positions will be cut beginning in June, and 60 salaried positions will be eliminated starting in July, the Wisconsin-based company said. Oshkosh Defence will be left with about 1,850 employees.
The overall company has about 12,000 employees worldwide.
“We need to reshape our workforce with U.S. defence spending down as a result of tight government budgets and a return to peacetime operations,” said John Urias, the executive vice-president of Oshkosh Corp. and president of Oshkosh Defence.
Urias said the company plans to contact county and state workforce-development agencies and local companies to help the affected employees find other jobs.
Shares of Oshkosh Corp. fell $1.80, or 3 per cent, to close Thursday at $57.28. Shares have traded in a 52-week range of $33.88 to $60.45.
The Obama administration is ending combat operations in Afghanistan on Dec. 31 and has begun withdrawing troops, although it would like to leave up to 10,000 troops to continue training Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism missions.
President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan budget bill in December that provided $552.1 billion for the regular military budget and $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas operations. The amounts reflected deficit-driven efforts to trim spending and the drawdown in Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting there.
American forces left Iraq at the end of 2011.
Oshkosh and two other defence contractors are also competing for a contract for joint light tactical vehicles, a prototype combat vehicle that’s expected to replace Humvees for U.S. ground forces. The prototypes are lighter and have improved technology and protective gear.
If Oshkosh were to win the bid, it could receive up to $13.75 billion in Defence Department contracts.
In addition to making military vehicles, Oshkosh Corp. builds a range of commercial vehicles including fire trucks, snowplows, garbage trucks and boom lifts.
Oshkosh Corp.: http://www.oshkoshcorporation.com
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.