More job losses as Vestas cuts Danish and German workforce

Roughly 590 manufacturing jobs will be cut from Vestas' blade manufacturing facilities in Germany and Denmark as the company "evolves" to meet customer demand. This follows Siemens Gamesa's announcement it is also cutting 600 jobs in Denmark to "address challenging market conditions".

Vestas is reorganising its blade production capacity, resulting in up to 590 job cuts across Germany and Denmark

Vestas is scaling down production of blades for its V136 model – which comes in both 3.6MW and 4.2MW variants – and will invest in other blade types "such as V117 and V150".

As a result of the alteration to its product portfolio, approximately 590 "hourly-paid" employees could be lost at the manufacturer’s sites in Lauchhammer, Germany, and Lem, Denmark.

Lauchhammer, in eastern Germany, will continue to produce blades for the V117 turbines, Vestas said, along with "limited production" of V136 blades.

Vestas intends to cut 500 third-party or temporary workers from the site, representing a 50% reduction in the workforce there.

In Lem, Vestas said it would reduce the workforce by around 12% with up-to-90 hourly-paid employees facing the axe.

The manufacturer said its facility in Lem "will remain the hub of Vestas’ blade innovation and will continue producing all blade prototypes and test blades for the entire Vestas product portfolio".

"V136 blade production will cease in Denmark as part of the scale down," the company added. "Our continued competitiveness in this environment means we must adjust our global manufacturing footprint to ensure we proactively manage our cost base and invest in new solutions to capture future growth," said Vestas chief operating officer Jean-Marc Lechêne.

In late August, Vestas laid off 44 workers from its Ringkøbing assembly plan in Denmark after scaling down production of nacelles and hubs for its 4MW platform in response to a slow uptake from the market. 

Vestas’ latest round of cuts comes a day after rival Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) also announced plans to reduce its workforce in Demark by up to 600 jobs.

SGRE said the move was part of its "one segment, one technology" strategy and the phase out of producing direct-drive onshore wind turbines.

The Spanish manufacturer said the production of direct-drive turbines at its Brande facility will be phased out at the end of 2020, and onshore wind blade production at its Aalborg site will end at the end of 2019.