Business & Finance

More than 12,000 workers at Volkswagon AG's flagship auto plant in Puebla, Mexico, went on strike Saturday. The move stopped the German automaker's production of the new Beetle, which it exports to 80 countries. The Puebla plant, the only one worldwide that makes the new Beetle, also produces Jettas and Golf Cabrios. Workers want a 21 percent pay raise. But VW executives urged the government to declare the strike illegal because they say they can't negotiate a pay hike 400 percent above inflation.

In layoff news:

• Ford Motor Co., the No. 2 US automaker, plans to cut up to 5,000 white-collar jobs in North America, or 10 percent of its North American workforce. Cuts will occur mostly through early retirement and buyout packages. In the past year, Detroit-based Ford has faced shrinking market share, a costly Firestone tire replacement program, questions over the safety of its Explorer SUV, and a lawsuit charging it installed faulty ignition switches on millions of vehicles.

• Japanese giant chipmaker Fujitsu Ltd. will slash its global workforce by 15,000, or nearly 10 percent, and close or consolidate some overseas plants in response to the high-tech slump, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily reported. Only 3,000 workers in Japan will lose their jobs, with most cuts occuring in North America and other Asian operations.

• Accenture Ltd. will cut 1,500 jobs, the second round of layoffs at the giant consulting firm this year. Accenture, formerly named Andersen Consulting, said layoffs will reduce its staff of 75,000 by about 2 percent. About 1,000 consultants will be cut in the US.

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