Saint-Gobain Cristalera shuts down R&D furnace

Saint Gobain Cristalera will close the furnace at its R&D center at Avils, northern Spain, on 4 November 2008, with the loss of 21 direct jobs and the disappearance of a key element in maintaining a g…

Saint Gobain Cristalera will close the furnace at its R&D center at Avils, northern Spain, on 4 November 2008, with the loss of 21 direct jobs and the disappearance of a key element in maintaining a global cutting edge facility which for years has carried out research and development and helped to open new markets. Faced with the decision to close facilities and cut jobs, the plant works committee will meet on 3 November 2008 to discuss a timetable for demonstrations. However, prior to implementing the protests, the committee has given management until 6 November to produce a plan for the future and a “satisfactory answer” to demands that the research center be able to continue its work, although the 76-strong workforce will be reduced to 55 employees. The reduction will be achieved through early retirements, incentives to leave and, in some cases, transfer to other departments. The works committee now intends to convene protests at Avils to secure the future of the R&D center. “The important thing is to sustain this activity because the center would lose a lot of its importance if there is no guarantee of its future”, said CCOO union representative Jose Lombardia on 2 November. The 15-tonne furnace that will shut down on 4 November 2008 is used by the factory for tests. Despite the cuts initiated by the multinational, the committee members are still relatively optimistic about the future. “The expectation is to return to work next year with half the people. The new research center will not do quality control or package glass and forward it for export. What is certain is that if we don“t ensure the future the shutdown of the furnace could mean the beginning of total closure”, Mr. Lombardia admitted. For now, the furnace will shut down and then undergo a cooling process until it stops working completely.