European engineering giant Siemens has announced plans to slash up to 15,000 jobs from its global operations as part of concerted efforts to cut operating costs.

A Siemens spokesman said over the weekend that the huge swathe of job cuts are part of a cost cutting drive which is hoped to save the company around $8.1 billion.

According to German news agency dpa the unnamed spokesman said that the company plans to implement the job cuts prior to the year’s end. Siemens will cut 5,000 workers in Germany alone, including 2,000 jobs at its industrial unit and a further 1,400 from its energy and infrastructure operations.

Siemens will also shed another 10,000 jobs from its operations abroad.

The Siemen’s spokesman said the job cuts were not determined by the company’s top executives, and that business units had been left to determine independently if and where employees should be retrenched. The job cuts do not necessarily mean that all of the workers affected will lose their positions at Siemens, as some may be transferred to other units within the company.

Siemens has already reached an agreement with its unions about more than half of the proposed job cuts, while a deal concerning the remaining cuts will soon follow. According to the spokesman Siemens does not want to implement enforced redundancies, and hopes instead to use attrition and voluntary severance deals to realize the job cuts.

In making the announcement, the Siemens spokesman said the company wished to bring an end to rumors on the market about the scale of the job cuts.

Siemens, which has corporate headquarters in both Munich and Berlin, is Europe’s largest electronics and electrical engineering firm, with around 404,000 staff as of the end of June this year.

The company manufactures a broad range of industrial and electrical equipment, including power generators, trains, hearing aids, medical scanners and transmission equipment.

Siemens is believed to be striving to reduce costs as part of efforts to better compete against rival engineering giants such as General Electric in the United States and Switzerland’s ABB, who have logged better profits than Siemens of late.