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Six hundred Bénéteau jobs at risk
Faced with a market that has contracted by 50 per cent, French boatbuilder the Bénéteau Group estimates that the company is overstaffed by 1,590 positions, but intends to safeguard the equivalent of 1,000 of these jobs.
The group presented its plan to deal with the ‘crisis situation on the global cruising market’ to the Central Works Council last week. The procedure to finalise the layoffs could take months to complete.
The loss in Bénéteau’s business for the 2009 season is so far equivalent to 2,700,000 hours of production, representing the equivalent of 2,200 positions.
Measures to deal with the drop in demand included the cessation of temporary contracts and the introduction of short time employment measures from January 1-August 31, 2009. However, Bénéteau expects the downturn to continue into 2010 and says that these measures are now insufficient.
To counteract the overstaffing and reduce the number of potential layoffs to around 600, Bénéteau intends to introduce strategies including voluntary departures, encouraged parental leave and part-time work, the transferral of staff to other group activities, and a measured reduction in outsourcing.
Reducing the cost of short time working measures with the aid of the French government — which represents the most significant component of the plan — could make it possible to retain 500 positions, representing around one third of the jobs at risk. The reduction in outsourcing is planned to save 50 Bénéteau jobs.
The Bénéteau Group is the world’s biggest producer of sailboats and one of the biggest motorboat manufacturers in Europe. Bénéteau is also a major player on the European leisure home market and is developing its position in the residential market with wooden frame housing.
In 2007-2008, Bénéteau’s turnover totalled €1.055bn, 81 per cent of which was generated by its boating business.
In August 2008 Bénéteau employed 6,000 people at over 20 production sites.