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Sony: one thousand temporary lay offs in TV manufacturing complex

Sony Corp. is planning temporary shutdowns at its television manufacturing complex in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA that could keep 1,000 of 2,800 permanent employees away from work for a mon…

Sony Corp. is planning temporary shutdowns at its television manufacturing complex in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA that could keep 1,000 of 2,800 permanent employees away from work for a month or more. Spokesman Michael Koff blamed the cutbacks on lower-than-expected holiday sales late 2002 and a subsequent buildup of unsold stock among retailers that carry Sony products. “The first calendar quarter of the year is traditionally the slow season for television and television component manufacturing,” he said. “This year has been no exception.” Koff said the manufacturing complex typically put temporary shutdowns into effect at this time of the year but this is the first time that all the different operations at the complex, the most vertically integrated television assembly site in North America, will be affected at the same time. “It all flows downstream,” he said. “If the retailers don“t need TV sets then we don“t have to make the TV sets.” The move to temporarily reduce permanent employees follows an earlier-than-usual reduction in part-time or contingent employees who supplement the permanent work force during the peak production season leading up to Christmas. The company began letting some 800 temporary workers go in December 2002, about a month earlier than normal. Operational shutdowns have already begun in the Pittsburgh Television Group, which assembles 36- and 40-inch Sony televisions. Those employees, will have been off for two weeks should they return as expected the week of 3 February 2003. American Video Glass, a joint venture that produces glass used in picture tubes, will begin its shutdown on 24 January 2003. The display group, which assembles large picture tubes, will be down from mid-February to mid-March. Shipping or logistics division employees will also be affected. “The vast majority of people will be back at work by April,” Koff said. But about 60 employees of the Display Systems Service Co., a business group that repairs computer monitors, were told that unit would be phased out by 31 March 2003 because of reduced work volume. Those employees may accept severance or transfer to other units, Koff said. He said the unit has been affected by declining volume caused, in part, by consumers switching from monitors that used glass picture tubes to ones that use LCD devices.

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