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More layoffs at Fincantieri

FALLING workloads at Fincantieri’s yards around the world have prompted another bout of layoffs, this time at the Italian state-owned shipbuilder’s Sesti Ponente facility in Genoa. Under an agreement reached on Thursday with yard unions, 233 of the roughly 800 direct employees at Sestri will be laid off for an initial 13-week period, with the government and the company contributing support payments. A company spokesman stressed that the layoffs were temporary and that Fincantieri would take the workers back on once the market revived and orders resumed. That may be later rather than sooner, however. He also conceded that the company expected to lay off temporarily 1,000 of its 9,400 workers by year end, most of them blue-collar workers at the yards. Sestri thus becomes the second of Fincantieri’s Italian yards to suffer layoffs, Castellammare di Stabia near Naples starting the trend in June, and now has around 60 workers on temporary lay-off. Fincantieri has also just laid off 400 of the 700 workers at its Bay Shipbuilding unit in the US The Sestri yard, which delivered the Costa Pacifica this summer, has seen its workload dwindle steadily as commercial orders have dried up with the financial crisis. It has been assigned the fleet tanker recently ordered from Fincantieri by the Indian Navy and due for delivery in 2011, which a company spokesman said would provide “a breath of air for the yard. The latest move had been flagged for months, however. In April, metalworkers unions in contract negotiations with the company said executives had noted worrying signs of a slowdown in workloads at those two yards, and at its other merchant ship building and repair facilities at Ancona and Palermo.

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