Posted March 30, 2020
Oslo-listed RORO owner and operator Wallenius Wilhelmsen has launched temporary layoffs in the USA and Mexico in line with automaker plant closures resulting from measures imposed by governments and industry bodies to stop the spreading of the coronavirus.
As a result, Wallenius Wilhelmsen is suspending operations at several landbased processing centres, starting temporary layoffs for about 2,500 production workers in the USA and Mexico.
“While we work diligently to avoid reductions in our workforce, we have no choice but to respond to the disruption experienced by our customers and the effect it has on our operational throughput and income,” says Craig Jasienski, President & CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
The temporary layoffs now started, amount to a little more than half of the company’s production workforce across the USA and Mexico. As explained, the company will work on returning employees to work when business rebounds.
“We recognize and remain sensitive to the challenges many employees and families are facing during these uncertain times. Still, I remain confident that making some hard but responsible decisions today, is a far better course than waiting and having to make bigger and harder decisions later. We will continue to hold that mantra as matters develop,” continues Jasienski.
The announcement is being unveiled a week after the company withdrew its dividends for 2019 and informed of its plans to reduce capacity through a combination of redelivery of chartered vessels to tonnage providers, early recycling of up to four vessels and cold-lay-up of up to 10 vessels.
Given the situation and the need to preserve cash until there is more certainty, the company’s management has reduced Capex spend to a minimum, prioritizing safety and maintenance critical expenditures.