A TRUCK maker employing more than 1,000 North-East workers has admitted its faces a tough 2016.

Caterpillar, which has a factory in Peterlee, east Durham, expects global sales to be down, as weakness in oil and gas work is compounded by fewer construction and mining projects.

The warning comes after reports previously claimed the company will axe 10,000 jobs across its international workforce by 2018.

Bosses told The Northern Echo they aren’t revealing which sites could be affected, but did confirm any changes would be made globally and across all its divisions.

Referring to next year, Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar chairman and chief executive, said the firm must battle through a difficult cycle of events.

He added: “Managing through cyclicality has been critical to our success for the past 90 years; it’s nothing new for us.

“When world growth improves, the key industries we serve - construction, mining, energy and rail - will be needed to support that growth.

“We’re confident in the long-term success of the industries we’re in, and together with our customers, we’ll weather today’s challenging market conditions.

“We can’t control the cycle, but we continue to drive improvements in our business.

“As we look ahead to what will likely be our fourth consecutive down year for sales, which has never happened in our history, we are restructuring to lower costs.

“It’s painful and will affect thousands of people, but is essential for the long-term health of the company.”

The company’s Peterlee plant makes articulated vehicles for all conditions, from -40C in Arctic tundra, to 40C in the Sahara.

It uses 35,000 tonnes of steel every year to help make its trucks, and could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the same time frame with the oil and fluids needed to run vehicles.