SolarWorld puts a third of its staff on short-time work


According to a report in the Saturday issue of the "Freien Presse" (Free Press), SolarWorld AG will temporarily put 350 staff in its wafer and solar cell manufacturing division on short-time work. The measure also affects the recycling and logistics divisions at the subsidiaries of the photovoltaic companies Deutsche Solar GmbH and Deutsche Cell GmbH.

Mario Behrendt, managing director of Deutsche Solar, told the newspaper that the competent employment office has already approved the request. SolarWorld employs a total workforce of 1,330 at the company’s site in Freiberg, Saxony as well as sixty subcontracted employees. The manufacturer was forced to cut approximately 250 jobs only last year.

SolarWorld indicated the "winter slump" – that is, the current low demand for photovoltaic systems – as the reason for the short-time work. "We decided on short-time work in order to secure jobs at our Freiberg location. This reduction in production quantities is limited to the first quarter," explained SolarWorld in response to inquiries.

The short-time work period will begin this Monday and is initially limited to April 30. Affected staff will work 30% less. SolarWorld expects to see the photovoltaic market pick up again at the beginning of the second quarter.

According to the report, Behrendt sought to quell rumors that SolarWorld might completely abandon the company’s business location in Saxony. On the contrary, Freiberg is and remains the largest SolarWorld location. Well-trained staff are employed in highly efficient production facilities, he explained. However, Solarworld will also have to do its homework and develop new products and technologies. In addition, efforts are being made to optimize the company’s production processes even further as well as to increase the quality.

Translation by Alan Faulcon.