Electrolux lays off 150 at Sweden factory

Electrolux is to scale-down production at its refrigerator factory in Mariestad.

The cutbacks will mean that 150 staff will lost their jobs.

Stiff competition from low-cost manufacturers in the market for basic refrigerators and freezers for sale in southern Europe has led to the redundancies. The Mariestad factory will stop making bottom-range models and concentrate on more exclusive fridges for the northern European market.

“The Mariestad factory will remain the only Electrolux plant in Europe producing the most advanced chilling and freezing products,” said Petter Hjelmquist, managing director of the Mariestad site.

“But we will stop producing unprofitable products.”

When Electrolux started investigating the profitability of the Mariestad factory in the spring, it was expected that 300 jobs would go.

“Increased effectiveness at the plant has helped to make a number of our products profitable,” said Hjelmquist.

According to Hjelmquist, the factory will also focus on developing new higher-specification fridge and freezer models.

“New products and increased marketing have also reduced the need to make personnel redundant,” he said.

The redundancies came as no surprise for workers at the plant.

“It is naturally damned unpleasant, but still better than expected,” said Ola Bertilsson, chairman of the local branch of the Metall union.

The redundancies are mostly among assembly workers.

Ola Bertilsson is very critical of the company’s management.

“They have taken a lot of profit out of the company and have not invested enough,” he said.

“They demand a lot from us, the people who work to make the profit.”

“It is very unfortunate for those who are losing their jobs. We already have high unemployment in Mariestad, and this comes on top of 68 redundancies which were announced earlier.”

The latest redundancies will bring the workforce at the Mariestad plant down to 950 people by next year.

TT/The Local