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Nautor workers stage walkout

By IBI Magazine

Finnish boatbuilder Nautor is to lay-off around 50 workers according to an article today in the Swedish daily business newspaper Dagens Industri.

According to the article the cut in the number of employees, around a tenth of the workforce, follows a fall in turnover last year for the boatbuilder.

Turnover in 2002 registered Euro 82 million but dropped to Euro 64 million in 2003.

"During the years 2001-2002 we had a growth of 30 per cent thanks to a good order book", Nautor executive Mikael Still is quoted as saying in Dagens Industri. "Last year the world economic recession caught up on us and we now have to deal with that situation."

The news of the redundancies caused employees to stage a walkout on Friday afternoon. Nautor managing director Simone Marconcini, told IBI this afternoon that the walkout had been a "first reaction" by employees, and was down to a "misunderstanding" and a breakdown in communication between management and the factory floor.

"Their first reaction was understandable," Marconcini told IBI. "It was a case of mis-information and some misunderstanding about the new policies we are looking to employ."

According to Marconcini the walkout lasted three hours during the afternoon, but added that there was now a "common understanding" between workforce and management and that both were "fully committed" to "the future of Nautor and making even better boats in the future."

Marconcini told IBI that the redundancies were part of a development plan for the yard. "The new plan focuses on making the company more modern. We've been growing substantially for the past five years, now it's time to invest in new machinery and technology." New machinery will include a CNC machine for plugs and moulds.

A statement issued this afternoon by the boatbuilder outlined the proposals: "The development plan provides for a restructuring of internal logistics, a re-evaluation of the company's sourcing strategy and an assessment of the production system to ensure a continuing progression for the future, following the steady growth of the company in the last six years.

"The improved technology and facilities have provided Nautor with the opportunity to further develop and reallocate personnel. These changes are directly related to ensuring the continuous improvement of product quality, efficiency of all production systems and the increase of company flexibility. Further benefits will be seen in the local Finnish community, due to not only increased opportunities within the subcontractor network, but also through an exciting initiative to attract the next generation to Finland's world renowned yacht manufacturing industry.Through partnerships with local Universities, Nautor aims to identify potential new recruits, which will help take the experience of Nautor into the future and safeguard the industry as a whole.

"Nautor is increasing its presence in the market through the sales force and authorised service centres.This will be implemented by the appointment of new Area Managers and Customer Care Representatives; again ensuring the standard of service to all NautorŐs Swan clients is second to none. This will enable a greater integration of the Nautor's Swan agents network providing a more efficient and widespread presence on the global market, able to support efficiently their worldwide clients."

Nautor currently builds 35-40 yachts per year at its facility in the small Finnish town of Kronoby in northern Finland.

The company is today owned by the Italian family Ferragamo, known for the fashion company Salvatore Ferragamo producing shoes and leather goods. A small per centage of shares are also owned by the Finnish family Fazer, which is in the candy and chocolate business.

(4 May 2004)




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