* Valmet to keep 100 jobs at Osnabrueck plant
* Production of roof systems to be based at Zary, Poland
* IG Metall union calls for crisis talks with Valmet
(Adds union letter to Valmet executives)
BERLIN, June 3 Finnish auto supplier Valmet
Automotive will cut about two thirds of its staff in Germany and
move production of retractable roof systems for convertible cars
to lower-wage Poland.
Valmet, owned by the Finnish state, engineering group Metso
and private equity fund Pontos Group, will cut 230
jobs and keep about 100 white-collar staff at its German plant
in Osnabrueck, the company said late on Monday.
Assembly of roof systems for carmakers including Daimler
, BMW and Volkswagen's Bentley
division will be based in Zary, western Poland, where Valmet
employs 350 workers.
"Utilisation of two facilities is currently not feasible
because of the decline of the market for convertible roof
systems," Martina Lupberger, senior vice president at Valmet's
German division said.
Demand for convertibles has been in steady decline since the
2008-9 economic crisis, said Mario Franjicevic, Frankfurt-based
analyst with research firm IHS Automotive.
"Convertibles used to be second cars in most households, but
people nowadays wonder if they need a car at all," he said.
The latest job cuts follow the removal of 70 other positions
at the German site in recent months through voluntary
redundancies and natural wastage.
Other manufacturers are also seeking to benefit from low
Polish production costs. VW will spend nearly 3.4 billion zlotys
($1.12 billion) on a new Polish factory to build delivery vans
from 2016, ending assembly in Germany.
Labour costs in Poland's manufacturing sector amounted to an
hourly 6.65 euros per worker in 2012, about a sixth of the 36.98
euros in Germany, according to the Cologne-based IW economic
German union IG Metall protested against the job cuts in an
open letter sent to Valmet executives in Finland on Tuesday and
demanded the firm's chief operating officer attend crisis talks
with staff representatives on June 11.
"Given the dramatic situation at Valmet Osnabrueck, what we
urgently need is a management that's able to put the company
back on track," Valmet works council chief Lazar Kustudic said.
($1 = 3.0420 Polish Zlotys)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Additional reporting by Jussi
Rosendahl in Helsinki; Editing by Erica Billingham)