Caterpillar Inc, Peoria IL, has announced plans to reduce its worldwide employment at select locations by more than 900. In the United States, the company plans to achieve employment reductions of about 420 people, primarily through a voluntary early retirement program offered by selected business units. If employment reduction goals are not met through voluntary early retirements, the company will use involuntary separations. These actions will be completed by June 30, 2002, according to company information.In conjunction with the employment reduction and a plant closing in Shrewsbury, England, Caterpillar will take a pre-tax charge of about $55 million, according to the company. The Shrewsbury facility production will be reallocated to other Caterpillar engine facilities. The closing will affect about 520 employees. "I'm confident these actions further position Caterpillar for the long-term growth expected by our employees, customers, dealers, and shareholders," says Glen Barton, Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer. "These moves are important steps in our drive to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and leverage global synergies to better serve our customers while delivering strong results to investors."