It is reported that up to 450 employees, mostly production staff, will be made redundant as of February 27. The company cited lack of demand for its cranes as reason for the decision.

Earlier this month, Manitowoc Cranes president Eric Etchart told analysts, “2008 was our best year ever in the crane segment with very strong demand in the first half of the year followed by an accelerated decline in demand during the second half. The worst markets are in western and southern Europe where cancellations have directly impacted our lines of self-erecting and top slewing tower cranes and more recently, our mobile hydraulic product line, but to a much lesser extent.

“Our total crane backlog in Europe has declined by almost 80% compared to the same period last year. This reduction in backlog has left us with the need to right size our employment levels,” he said according to a transcript prepared by

“We are taking actions to adjust our cost structures in all regions. This includes workforce reduction in France, Portugal, China, India, and our Shady Grove facility in Pennsylvania. In total, we are reducing our workforce by approximately 22%.”