Web Date: October 13, 2009
Bayer Ending Shorter Hours
Bayer MaterialScience, the plastics, polyurethanes and chemicals arm of Bayer AG, is ending its program of reduced working hours at its German sites in November because of improving economic conditions.
In an agreement worked out with Bayer management at the end of January, Bayer production workers had taken a reduction of 6.7% of their hours and pay over an initial nine-month period. The move was meant to save money as the economy hit rock bottom while avoiding more severe short-time working measures allowed under German law.
In addition, this year's round of pay raises for Bayer management was cancelled. However, a promised 3.3% pay increase for production workers scheduled for April was implemented as planned.
Instead of extending the reduced working hours program, Bayer will end it and return 4,100 German employees to their normal workweek of 37.5 hours. "The reason for lifting this special arrangement is the improvement in orders," says Tony Van Osselaer, Bayer MaterialScience's labor director. "Nevertheless, the future business development of our customer industries still remains uncertain."
Bayer isn't the only major German chemical firm that has introduced shorter hours to cut costs during the recession. As of mid-year, BASF had 3,700 employees at 19 of its European plants working shorter hours.
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