Bayer MaterialScience restores hours, reverses wage cuts

09 October 2009 19:20  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Bayer will restore weekly working hours and salaries to normal levels for 4,100 workers at its Bayer MaterialScience polymer and plastics business in Germany, effective 1 November, due to improved order levels, the company said on Friday.

But despite the improved orders, the business outlook remains uncertain, a company executive said in explaining the decision to restore the normal 37.5 hour week.

In February, Bayer resorted to a clause in its collective agreement to cut hours and wages by 6.7% in the midst of the economic crisis.

Unlike many other firms, the company had avoided Germany's government-supported short-time work schemes, since those would have primarily hit production workers. Bayer's cuts included upper management, it said, adding that there would be no salary increases this year.

Bayer MaterialScience, which employs a staff of 15,000 worldwide, would also reverse reductions and cuts at its sites outside Germany, depending on business conditions, it said.

Meanwhile, a number of other German chemicals producers have ended or suspended earlier reductions in hours under short-time work programmes, as business has stabilised and improved.

German industrial orders have increased in recent months, consumers remain confident and economic sentiment indicators are picking up. However, industrial orders and production are still down by over 20% from last year and industry capacity utilisation remains low.

Europe’s largest economy is expected to shrink by less than 5% from 2008, much lower than the decline of over 6% economists predicted earlier in the year.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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