Leverkusen, Germany - Bayer MaterialScience AG has agreed with its labour unions to a temporary working time reduction of 6.7 percent, with a corresponding pay adjustment. The supplier of polyurethane raw materials put the measures into effect 9 Feb. The cuts will also affect managerial employees, BMS said
Bayer unit BMS said in reacting to the financial crisis it is not resorting to short-time working for the time being. Instead, it has used a clause in the general collective agreement for the chemical industry - a deal worked out between the Central Works Council, the IG BCE (the European chemical workers' union) and company management.
This allows a temporary cut of 6.7 percent in work time, with a corresponding drop in salaries for non-managerial employees. Saying that these measures will apply initially for nine months, BMS stressed that its pay deals are not affected. This means a pay rise of 3.3 percent, scheduled for April 2009 will go ahead as planned.
Managers at Bayer MaterialScience will also be affected by the cuts, and their pay rises will be postponed temporarily, BMS said. "Our goal is to master this difficult situation through our own efforts. All employees should make an appropriate contribution," said Dr Tony Van Osselaer, labour director for BMS.
"This solution ... reached jointly with company management, is the best option for both the employees and the company," said Thomas de Win, chairman of the Central Works Council of Bayer AG.
In addition, employees working in plants not operating to capacity are to be given further training as part of a continuing education drive, the company said in a 23 Feb announcement.
Similar measures have already been taken or are planned for BMS sites globally. Out of the group's global workforce of around 15 200 people, some 5500 work in Germany.