Around 2,500 new jobs will be created in developing countries, leaving the net loss of positions at around 2,000, most of them in Germany.
Trades unions criticised the plan. “The programme is hard and not justifiable in its range,” Reiner Hoffmann, head of the IG BCE told the Rheinische Post paper.
Unions had known that managers were planning a savings programme which would involve job losses, but had not expected such large numbers to be involved.
Hoffmann said it was right for Bayer to invest in emerging markets, but said he was concerned that the firm was not only cutting jobs in administration but also in research.
Bayer CEO Marijn Dekker only took over the position two months ago, announced the job cuts and some reorganisation on Thursday evening. The plan is for costs to be reduced by €800 million a year from 2013, but that until then €1 billion will have to be invested to reshape the firm.
Bayer has three branches of business, HealthCare, which produces pharmaceuticals, CropScience which focuses on fertilizer and pesticides, and Material Science which produces high-tech materials. The savings plan will affect largely the first two branches.
“Bayer has great business potential in all three subgroups. To better exploit this potential, we must continue to bundle existing resources and streamline our structures. That is the only way we can sustainably finance our investment in growth and innovation - for example in new pharmaceutical products, in our BioScience business and in the expansion of our capacities in Asia," said Dekkers.
"The cutbacks involved will not be easy, but they are necessary. I am convinced that with more innovation and less administration, Bayer can become a better and faster company."