In a signal that demand for its plastics is starting to improve, supplier Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany) has ended reduced working hours at its German sites, and says pay also will return to normal.
Effective November 1, union employees at the supplier of polyurethane, polycarbonate, thermoplastic polyurethanes, and coatings and adhesives will revert to their collectively agreed workweek of 37.5 hours. Since February 2009 those 4100 employees have had their work hours and pay reduced by 6.7%.
"The reason for lifting this special arrangement is the improvement in orders. Nevertheless, the future business development of our customer industries still remains uncertain," said Tony Van Osselaer, a member of the company’s board of directors, responsible for production and technology.
Manager-level employees at the company also were affected by the cuts, which in their case included the cancellation of this year’s round of pay increases.
Last month’s appointment of Martin Dekkers as Bayer AG’s new chief executive officer, the first non-German to hold the job, has created speculation that the MaterialScience division of the company may eventually be divested to allow Bayer to focus on its pharmaceuticals business. The opposite is the case at Belgian chemicals and plastics supplier Solvay, which last month sold its pharmaceuticals operations to focus on chemicals and plastics. As it happens, Solvay has neither PUR nor PC in its portfolio. —[email protected]