Visp/Basel, Switzerland, 26 November 2012 – In the past weeks the employee representatives have negotiated the implementation of the measures for the announced staff reduction in Basel and Visp. During the discussions, Lonza together with the employees’ associations, the Operative Commission and the unions Syna and Unia have agreed on a social plan.
The social plan regulates the measures and compensation in connection with the staff reduction. Priority during the negotiations was the social compatibility within the framework of business feasibility. This ensures the company will remain a reliable and socially responsible employer in a difficult environment. The negotiated plan allows that the number of layoffs can be kept as low as possible through early retirements and internal vacancies. For the internal transfers and potential layoffs an operational employment center will be set up.
In parallel with ongoing social plan discussions, the parties involved will have the opportunity to submit further proposals by the end of December to reduce the amount of layoffs. In accordance with the outstanding agreement on the extended work time, Lonza will not announce any layoffs for economic reasons before January 2013 (for individual work contracts) and March 2013 (for collective work contracts).
Lonza expresses its gratitude to the negotiating delegations, the employees’ associations, the Operative Commission and the union representatives for the constructive and intense collaboration over the past weeks. The company considers the social plan as fair and balanced and is convinced that it will enable the implementation of the reduction in staff in a socially acceptable manner.
At the end of October, in the framework of a cost reduction program through the end of 2014, Lonza announced a reduction in staff of 400 positions in Switzerland. 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 due to the exchange rates and Asian competition as well as raw material and energy prices. With these measures, Lonza intends to secure the future of the site.