Europe's second-largest steel makier Corus Plc, owned by the Tata Steel, has asked the Netherlands government for financial help from its €6-billion ($7.8 billion) economic bailout fund to help cut down on the work hours of nearly 4,600 employees, due to decline in sales in the global steel industry, caused by the current economic slowdown.
Last month the Dutch government had announced a €6-billion ($7.8 billion) economic stimulus package, or 1 per cent of its GDP, to help the country cope with the global financial crisis. The government said that it would fund shorter working hours for companies whose sales have declined by 30 per cent since the past two months, through this package.
The social affairs ministry has said that as of Sunday, 15 companies had applied for the work reduction scheme, which now Corus Plc is also availing for its 4,600 employees, out of the 11,300 it employs in the Netherlands, The Dutch trade union De Unie has lent the proposal its approval.
Under the scheme, employees of Corus in the Netherlands would be paid 70 per cent of their wage as unemployment benefits by the Dutch government and Corus would pay the remaining 30 per cent over a period of six weeks.
This scheme could be extended thrice up to a total of 24 weeks and De Unie said that the company would apply to the Dutch government to avail of this scheme and if approved could start as early as January.
The Netherlands' social affairs ministry said that it had received applications for assistance from 15 companies so far under this scheme, a majority of whom are from the metal-electronics sector, car industry and transport sector.
Last month, Corus had cut 400 jobs in its distribution business in the UK and Ireland operations, where the company employs 2,400 people across 36 sites (See: Corus raises production cuts to 30 per cent; axes 400 jobs).
It has also cut jobs at Corus Tubes' in the UK and the Netherlands, which employs around 2,200 people. In the UK, 146 jobs would be cut out of which 56 would be at Corby, 49 at Hartlepool and 41 in the Netherlands.
Corus, that is a part of Tata Steel, has also postponed a meeting where it would have announced its half-yearly financial results, as the venue was scheduled at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, which is temporarily shut down in wake of the terror attack last week.