Brussels - Belgian foam group Recticel has announced plans to restructure a number of activities at its site at Wetteren, Belgium, and has notified the works council of these plans, which involve 110 redundancies from the 653-strong workforce at the site.
According to Recticel, its Interior Solutions business making automotive interior parts has been "particularly hard hit by the structural problems in the automotive sector."
Recticel currently makes components for the Mercedes C class at three plants, including Wetteren, which supplies the dashboard skins. The present contract expires at the end of 2010.
For this model's facelift, Recticel said, Mercedes has "explicitly asked for these components to be supplied from a single site in Germany as of 2011."
This request is based on quality aspects, other technical criteria and the need to save on logistics expenses. As a result, this department at Wetteren needs to close before the end of 2010, Recficel said.
The polyurethane part maker also noted the effect of the current economic crisis on its flexible foams business, with Wetteren now handling far lower foam volumes for the automotive sector and seeing falling demand from the industrial capital goods sector and the furniture industry.
In this context, Recticel said, it will have to adapt staffing in its support services accordingly.
If the planned restructuring is agreed, it will lead to the redundancy of 110 employees, 79 blue-collar and 31 white-collar workers.
Recticel noted that the best possible social measures will be sought together with the unions.
PIC: Recticel workers examine a 'Spray' instrument panel skin.