WINDMÖLLER & HÖLSCHER
Flexible packaging machinery producer to cut 350 German jobs
Flexible packaging machinery manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H, Lengerich / Germany; www.wuh-lengerich.de) plans to eliminate 350 of the 1,650 jobs at its headquarters. The fact that there will be compulsory redundancies rather than using natural fluctuation or temporary layoffs illustrates the severity of the financial blows that have hit the company over the past year. W&H, which employs 2,100 people worldwide, points to cancellation of existing projects and a slump in new orders since mid-2008. Like most machinery manufacturers, it does not expect any improvement before 2010.

Management said moves implemented in the recent past, including short-time working, early retirement and contract buyouts, had been insufficient to deal with the crisis. In a statement, managing directors Jürgen Vutz, Peter Steinbeck and Theodor Determann said that in the current weak economic environment there were no alternatives to redundancies. At the same time, they affirmed the machinery manufacturer’s commitment to the flexible packaging market, which despite the current weakness has “potential for further growth.”

The workforce, backed by the German metalworkers’ union IG Metall, has appealed to W&H management to “do everything possible” to retain all employees. It argues that when the recession ends, the company will be in a weakened position. The union proposes that retained profits of earlier years be used to bridge the gap to economy recovery and preserve jobs. IG Metall contends that the in-house collective agreement prohibits compulsory redundancies.
19.05.2009 Plasteurope.com [213444]
Published on 19.05.2009
German version...German version of this article...
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