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Future of KraussMaffei's Treuchtlingen plant still in the balance

By: David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

November 25, 2013

Although KraussMaffei Group has announced plans to close its injection molding machine components plant in Treuchtlingen, Germany, the company is still negotiating with the IG Metall union and the works council with a view to finding a mutually satisfactory solution as early as Nov. 29.

On Nov. 22, KraussMaffei management from Munich held discussions with representatives of the employer's association, the KM Treuchtlingen works council and the IG Metall union in Ingolstadt, according to local news reports.

IG Metall's Horst Schmitzberger was quoted saying that KM's management was ready for discussions right from the start of the almost 7.5-hour meeting, and "ready to discuss the closure plans with us."

Schmitzberger added that, "intentions could be revised, not all problems have been solved, but there is a shimmer of hope, which hadn't been expected beforehand — we had thought they would stonewall us."

More meetings are scheduled for Nov. 27. Schmitzberger presumes any plans presented by KM then will not be without conditions: "we will have to consider what we are ready to do in order to maintain the location." He did not rule out the possibility of strikes, should KM "play for time."

Back on Nov. 12, KM had announced that production in Treuchtlingen would be moved to KM's headquarters plant in Allach, near Munich, and its plant in Sucany, Slovakia, in order to increase international competitiveness.

Treuchtlingen makes components for small- to mid-sized injection molding machines and extruders, including injection units, machine housings, barrels, hydraulic pistons and motor flanges.

IG Metall initially protested news of the closure, saying that it had the support of a broad majority of local politicians and nearby residents. Although some of the 160 employees are expected to be offered positions around 80 miles away at KM in Munich, staff interviewed on TV expressed reluctance at tearing up their local roots or commuting daily.

KM's owner, Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp., was the target of some of the protests.