Motorola might have some interesting new phones in the pipeline, but the economic downturn is continuing to hit it hard.

Today it announced that it was permanently freezing its employee pension plans in the US from March next year to save money, and 'temporarily' suspending its own contributions to the plans from January.

It also said that salaries in 'many' of the countries it operates in would not be increased during 2009.

Fat cats slimming down

Motorola execs aren't exempt from the belt-tightening measures. Co-CEOs Greg Brown and Sanjay Jha will voluntarily take a 25 percent cut in base salary in 2009, and forego any cash bonuses earned under incentive plans.

"The sustained downturn in the global economy requires that we take these difficult but necessary steps," said Brown and Jha.

At the end of October, Motorola announced a $800 million (£520 million) cost-saving package that including cutting 3000 jobs, after posting a near $400 million (£260 million) loss the previous quarter.

Motorola says that employees can continue to contribute to their own pension plans - though you have to wonder how many workers will have confidence in a company that lets barely a month go by between such drastic cost-saving measures....