BASF to cut hours for up to 3,000 Ludwigshafen staff in June

15 April 2009 12:21  [Source: ICIS news]

BASF at Ludwigshafen (Source: BASF)LONDON (ICIS news)--BASF is preparing short-time working for up to 3,000 employees at its Ludwigshafen, Germany, production hub as a response to weak demand, the chemicals major said on Wednesday.

“Capacity utilisation rates at many plants have remained very low since the beginning of the year, and there are no signs of a sustained improvement in orders from key customer industries in the foreseeable future,” said the head of human resources at the site, Harald Schwager.

The situation was being assessed unit-by-unit to determine which plants would introduce shorter working hours. The short-time working would take effect on 1 June.

“At the moment, around 600 employees in Ludwigshafen are working temporarily in other plants. Unfortunately, we are now reaching the limits of what is possible,” he added.

BASF said it would look at further measures if the situation does not improve in the second half of the year, including the extension of short-time working beyond production units.

The company said it would announce how many units and employees would be affected by short-time working by the middle of May. It was expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 staff to be affected out of the 32,800 working at the Ludwigshafen site.

“Employees will receive a net wage of approximately 90% as a result of short-time work compensation provided by the German government as well as a payment from the company under the terms of the collective wage agreement for the chemical industry,” BASF said in a statement.

“Rapid re-introduction of normal working hours is possible at any time, should demand for BASF products pick up,” it added.

At the end of 2008 BASF, the world’s largest chemicals producer, said it would shut down 80 production units worldwide on a temporary basis and run more than 100 at reduced rates, affecting approximately 20,000 employees worldwide.

The cutbacks are a response to a huge decline in demand for chemicals amid the global economic downturn.

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By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214

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