UPDATE 1-Voestalpine to shorten shifts at Austria tube plant

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VIENNA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Voestalpine plans to introduce short-time working for most staff at a seamless tube plant in Austria due to a fall in orders as a result of U.S. tariffs.

From March, up to 950 of the 1,100 staff at the plant in Kindberg, will work short-time shifts for six months, the Austrian company said.

“The aim is to give us more flexibility for the next six months, during which we expect the market environment to remain very volatile,” board member Franz Kainersdorfer said on Friday.

Washington launched 25% tariffs on steel imports from the European Union last summer, Voestalpine said, noting that had hit demand for tubes produced by Voestalpine Tubulars, a joint venture with U.S. firm NOV Grant Prideco.

Voestalpine, which employs more than 50,000 staff globally, reported its first nine-month loss in years on Thursday.

In December it said it would cut 200 jobs at its Wetzlar site in Germany, where it mainly produces parts for the auto industry.

Voestalpine has also faced ramp-up problems at a plant that supplies car makers in the United States and the temporary closure of its nine production plants in China due to the coronavirus outbreak for which it has said it is too early to quantify the economic impact. (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Thomas Seythal and Jason Neely)