Visp, Switzerland, 12 November 2012 – To implement the reduction in staff within the framework of “VispChallenge”, Lonza has started negotiations with the unions Syna and Unia. In two rounds of negotiations the parties have agreed to approve a social plan by 23 November and subsequently inform the employees of the content. Regarding the rights of participation, Lonza has greatly met the requirements of the unions and the consulting phase will last until the end of the year.
During this phase, representatives of the employees will have the opportunity to make proposals regarding the amount and impact of the planned staff reduction. It has been agreed that an internal task force will be established, consisting of representatives of the Operative Commission and one external as well as internal representative of the unions. To be able to develop concrete recommendations, Lonza will provide the task force with further information.
The same deadlines and rights are also valid for the employee associations Visp and Basel and the negotiating representatives for employees with individual work contracts. Lonza is also currently in discussions with these employee associations to analyze the measures and handle the impact for the affected employees with individual work contracts in the most socially responsible manner. During the negotiations, Lonza has reaffirmed that all ongoing agreements with the employees’ representatives will be entirely respected.
Lonza supports the efforts of different political representatives, the unions and further stakeholders for the building of a task force to improve the industrial policy framework conditions for the Visp site on a long term basis. However, the unions as well as Lonza share the opinion that such a task force should work independently from the ongoing negotiations and therefore is not part of the consultation procedure.
On 31 October, Lonza announced a reduction in staff of 500 positions globally. Lonza strives for the most socially responsible way of implementing these planned reduction measures. At least two thirds of the reduction will be achieved by internal transfers, natural attrition, early retirements and a reduction of temporary work contracts.
Reducing the manufacturing costs in Switzerland has become necessary as over the past few years, the profitability of the production site Visp has continuously decreased to the exchange ratesand Asian competition as well as raw material and energy prices. With these measures, Lonza intends to secure the future of the site.