COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) -- Engine maker Cummins Inc. said Monday it offered voluntary retirement packages to about 700 hourly employees in southern Indiana as the company continues to pare down its work force.
Cummins said it will accept up to 350 voluntary retirement applications, or about 12.5 percent of its southern Indiana work force.
The company said hourly workers with 30 years at the company, or workers who are at least 55 with at least 10 years at the company are eligible for the offer. Eligible workers have until Feb. 13 to accept the offer, with most leaving by March 31, the company said.
"The demand for our engines and related products continues to fall, and despite the significant steps already taken to align our costs with that demand, permanent job reductions have become necessary," said Jim Kelly, president of the company's engine business, said in a statement.
The announcement is the latest in a string of job cuts from the engine maker. Cummins said it has cut more than 1,400 salaried workers and about 1,000 hourly workers worldwide since the beginning of the fourth quarter 2008. It has also cut 2,500 contract and temporary workers, halted hiring, closed facilities and frozen salaries for professionals, among other cost-cutting steps.
In December, Cummins reduced its professional work force in Indiana by about 200 people and announced a second round of cuts on Jan. 13. The company has been hard hit by the downturn in engine demand amid the economic recession.
Shares of Cummins fell 86 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $23.05 in morning trading. The stock has lost 10 percent since the beginning of 2009.