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Draka's New Year resolution 2010 - 125 workers loose their jobs

(PresseBox) (Brussels, ) As part of cost savings plans within Draka's Communications Group, the Board of Management of Draka Holding N.V. announced on January 5, 2010 that it intends to close its factory in Årnes (Norway). 125 jobs will be lost in a town with 3289 inhabitants.

Draka develops, engineers and manufactures cable solutions. It is the market leader in highperformance automotive cable and communication cable in Europe, market leader in North America for elevator cable, market leader in Europe in communication cable and number one in China in optical fibre and fibre optic cable.

Draka is the eight largest cable manufacturer in the world and the third largest in Europe with over 68 factories, sales and support offices in 30 countries, and some 10,050 employees in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia Pacific. Draka was founded in 1910 and has head office in the Netherlands.

The plant at Årnes produces advanced high quality data category cables. Due to the high level of production quality the plant has taken over production from other Draka plants and is the preferred production plant for more of Drakas customers. Whether or not the cost savings of moving production from Norway to other destinations are motivated is not clear.

In a press release and at a board meeting on January 5, 2010 Draka announced the planned closure. Draka gave the employees 4-6 weeks to come up with alternative solutions to save their jobs.

The employees have previously agreed to moderate salary increases in order to assist in the savings programme and this has helped the company to be profitable today with 80 million NOK in the bank. One year ago several employees were made redundant in order to cut costs.

The employees were informed at the company board meeting, which took place on January 5, 2010. There had been no previous announcement to employee representatives, which is called for by Norwegian law as well as by European law. 125 jobs are lost when the plant in Årnes is closed.

Discussions have started between the employer and the Norwegian trade union Fellesforbundet as well as with the Norwegian trade union confederation, LO.

Arve Bakke, President of Fellesforbundet is appalled by the company decision. "Closing a profitable factory in Norway in the mere hope of saving even more on low wages and worse working conditions in Eastern Europe is not the way into the future.

As if that was not enough the company has tried to circumvent Norwegian legislation by not giving the shop stewards and our members the stipulated information and documentation in due time" says Arve Bakke.

It is clear to Europe's workers that lessons about shorttermism of the economic crisis are not making their way through to management. And rhetoric on the promotion of lowcarbon industries is not being met with action from public policymakers and politicians.

Stressing the industrial policy implications, Peter Scherrer (General Secretary of the European Metalworkers' Federation) recalled that "Development of cable technology is an important factor in European competitiveness, and this is set to continue. Therefore, it is absurd to be shutting a factory producing the very equipment needed in Europe, increasing the need for future imports."

The EMF is the representative body defending the interests of workers in the European metal industry. The EMF has a mandate for the external representation and coordination of the metalworkers' unions and a mandate to engage in bargaining at European level.