Crystalex Glassworks speeds up restructuring and plans staff reduction

The largest Czech glassworks, Crystalex, part of Bohemia Crystalex Trading (BCT), has decided to speed up its restructuring process and, according to recent statements by the press, will cut its workf…

The largest Czech glassworks, Crystalex, part of Bohemia Crystalex Trading (BCT), has decided to speed up its restructuring process and, according to recent statements by the press, will cut its workforce and increase the volume of fully-automated production at the expense of manual output by May 2002. The reduction in manual production at three plants will result in layoffs of 762 of firm“s total staff of 3,925 as well as the closure of the production plant in Kvetna, according to BCT general director Vladimir Vomacka. The firm is seeking a buyer for the Kvetna operation and Crystalex will transfer approximately one-third of the plant“s employees to other production facilities, he says. At the end of October 2001, the unemployment rate in the relevant region stood at 6.7%, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. The firm“s union released a statement saying that it is monitoring the situation and is ready to take more radical steps if necessary to stop additional cutbacks. BCT has invested almost CZK 2 billion in automated production technologies at the company to date. Wage costs for manual output are 2.5 times higher than for automated production, where it stands at 19%. Most importantly, 80% of manual production has resulted in losses. At Crystalex, manual production stands at 40%, while at other BCT divisions, namely Sklo Bohemia, Sklarny Bohemia and Sklarny Kavalier, it amounts to a maximum of 15%. BCT exports almost 80% of its production. The recession on world markets has negatively influenced its financial performance. BCT expects sales of CZK 1.473 billion in 2001.