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Mounting concerns about MV Werften's future

Up to 1,200 of approximately 3,100 jobs could be cut at MV Werften to ensure the continued viability of the Genting Hong Kong-controlled shipyard group with production sites at Wismar, Rostock and Stralsund.

This message by the management with CEO Peter Fetten at the helm in an internal video to MV Werften staff has sparked intense worries in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern federal state. Apart from the job losses, which would hit the already economically disadvantaged region hard, local politicians and trade unionists fear that one of the production sites — most probably Stralsund — could even be in danger of closing, although MV Werften has not announced anything in that regard.

Federal support

Last week MV Werften said in a public statement that workforce changes were among the requirements to qualify for grants from Germany's Economic Stabilization Funds (Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds — 'WSF'). An expected €450m in total could be provided to ensure MV Werften's future; €193m has already been granted as an advance to shore up the group's liquidity and continue production until the end of March.

A decision about the WSF commitment is expected by March 31, by which time the verdict on job cuts will be known. Negotiations between MV Werften's management and the workers' council about a redundancy program and compensation plan are already under way. 

Stralsund production site 

In light of the critical situation, federal state Minister for Economic Affairs Harry Glawe will report to the state parliament's Committee on Industry and Trade this Friday. A Leftist Party member of the federal state parliament has mentioned plans to close the Stralsund production site and to maintain only a construction team with few employees there.

MV Werften, however, has not released or confirmed such information.

The IG Metall trade union has called for protests against job cuts on Wednesday. At its Stralsund site, MV Werften is currently working on the expedition vessel Crystal Endeavor, which will be completed soon. Additionally, Global Dream for Dream Cruises is under construction at Wismar.