In a development that runs counter to all the news out of GlobalFoundries since it began hiring a local workforce three years ago, some jobs are being eliminated at the giant Luther Forest computer chip plant.
About 30 jobs, mostly in support roles, are being cut as part of a corporation-wide job reduction, even as the company continues to hire for technical positions at its Fab 8 complex. About 2,200 people work there.
This is the first time GlobalFoundries has laid off a group of people since coming to New York, though hiring and layoff cycles are a familiar phenomena at other large regional employers such as General Electric.
“We are making a small number of targeted cuts, although we remain on an overall growth trajectory both here at Fab 8 and globally,” GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said Wednesday.
The local layoffs are part of a roughly 3 percent employee reduction GlobalFoundries is making around the world. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Dresden, Germany, and Singapore, and corporate headquarters in California. Globally, there are about 13,000 employees. Three percent of that number would be about 400 jobs.
Most of the cuts affect employees in support and non-technical roles. Bullard said the company still plans to add head-count in Malta throughout next year, as Fab 8 is expanded and a new research center is prepared to open.
“The impact here at Fab 8 is very limited,” Bullard said.
The company, founded in 2009, is owned by a government investment fund in Abu Dhabi, which has invested about $12 billion to date to get into the highly competitive semiconductor manufacturing industry. More than half that total has been invested in Malta.
The company has become the second-largest contract chip manufacturing in the world, trailing only Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., its chief rival.
Fab 8 continues to add manufacturing capacity. A $2.3 billion technology development center now under construction is scheduled to employ hundreds more people by the end of next year.
The company is advertising for applicants for 15 positions in Malta, but they carry such titles as failure analysis engineer and shift technical supervisor. The continuing demand for highly skilled specialists doesn’t preclude the need to cut the workforce elsewhere in the company to keep the company competitive, Bullard said.
“As we continue to grow our business, we also continue to focus on reducing our operating costs in order to improve our competitive position, prioritize our resources and establish a solid foundation for sustainable growth,” Bullard said. “These cost-reduction measures are designed to accelerate our ability to build a profitable, competitive and successful global business.”
It isn’t clear whether all layoffs will be in Malta; the company also has a small number of New York state workers at the College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering in Albany and at an IBM research facility in East Fishkill.
Bullard said the employees losing their jobs will receive transitional assistance from the company.
“In keeping with our corporate values, all employees affected by workforce reductions will be treated with respect and provided appropriate support during this transition,” he said. “We are working closely with several public and private agencies to assist affected employees.”