Areva to slash staff numbers at Bremerhaven

GERMANY Areva Wind is shedding 160 temporary staff and employees with fixed-term contracts to February 2014 at its Bremerhaven works, leaving only around 100 permanent staff, mainly in engineering and project development.

The decision comes only days after the company announced plans to develop an 8MW turbine at its new facilities in Le Havre, northern France.

"I don't agree with this move," Karsten Behrenwald, head of the IG Metall trade union branch in Bremerhaven, told Windpower Offshore.

The political parties negotiating a coalition agreement for the next German federal government have taken a decision on offshore support.

"That should bring some movement," Behrenwald said. "Investors should now decide to invest. If you lose experienced employees it can be difficult to get them back."

After delivering 80 turbines to the Global Tech 1 and 40 to Borkum West 2 phase 1 North Sea wind farms, Areva Wind’s next project should have been MEG1. 

However, the German government's efforts in early 2013 to slow renewables development and the resulting investment uncertainty, compounded by insolvency of project owner Windreich, has so far blocked financial close. 

Similarly, it is not clear when an investment decision for Windreich's Deutsche Bucht project, for which Areva turbines were also foreseen, will be taken.

Areva is also due to supply Iberdrola's Wikinger Baltic Sea project, "but this will not have an impact on employment until 2015, said Behrenwald.

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