Vestas cuts workers hours at two US factories

UNITED STATES: Vestas is cutting working hours at its Colorado blade plants at Windsor and Brighton in preparation for a post-PTC slowdown in the US wind sector.

Vestas Windsor plant... one of two factories affected

The company said it had told employees at the factories that it was reducing their weekly hours from 40 to 32 hours. The change will take effect in January.

Under a deal approved by the Colorado labour department, staff will be reimbursed for the lost hours from an unemployment trust fund on a pro-rata basis. The money will be paid for 18 weeks.

A Vestas spokesman said: "The work-share plan gives Vestas manufacturing flexibility, helps to retain our valuable and experienced employees, and saves costs on recruiting or training new staff if market demand for wind turbines increases in 2013.
Vestas’ four Colorado factories will continue to manufacture wind turbine components for the US market, as well as export to Canada and Latin America. Despite market challenges in the near term, Vestas is prepared to succeed in 2013 and intends to be here for the long term."

Both plants have been affected by Vestas restructuring of its US business. In October, the Danish manufacturer cut 200 jobs at its Windsor plant and 80 at Brighton. The company has also closed all of its US research and development facilities.

Last month, Vestas vice president of Vestas Americas Martha Wyrsch announced she was to leave the company after three years in the role. She will be replaced by Chris Brown, who has served as chief operating officer for Detroit since early 2011.