Following the announced transfer of TV production from the Panasonic factory in Pilsen to another country, around 450 regular employees of the company should lose their jobs in Pilsen at the end of March next year. Given the current situation, it cannot be ruled out that Panasonic will be followed in Pilsen by other manufacturing companies, especially those in the field of “automotive.” Many Czech and foreign employees work there. What do the representatives of Pilsen think about the threat of further release? Is Pilsen ready for such a situation? You will find out in our Political Corridor.
Question: Are you afraid that in Pilsen, after Panasonic, there is a risk of redundancies in other manufacturing companies as well?
David Šlouf (ODS)
I do not know the situation in other manufacturing companies in detail. But we can read from the media that a large part of the dismissed employees of Panasonic have already been contacted by Daikin, which also operates in Borské polky. In addition, for example, as of 1 July 2021, the Pilsen Region had 32,375 vacancies and only 11,910 jobseekers, and the share of the unemployed was 2.9 percent in July. In general, it can still be stated that there are three vacancies per unemployed person, ie demand still significantly exceeds supply, and those who really want to work should not have a major problem finding a job.
Vaclav Stekl (KSCM)
Yes, we should be worried. Especially those companies that are realized in principle as “assembly plants”, ie without any added value, without development and research, may have problems. But not only them. We all see what is happening in Europe behind the energy and economic crisis. Rising energy prices, reduced sales and a lack of key components for production can affect the intentions of the owners of these companies and send “employees” and employees to the pavement. And this does not only apply to companies in the city, but to the entire region, for which Pilsen is a natural catchment area. The city should prepare with the relevant organizations for an increased number of agency workers (mostly from abroad) without work. They are not protected by the Labor Code and it is easier to release them without compensation.
Jiri Lodr (KDU-CSL)
The situation of a company like Panasonic is certainly a very unpleasant fact. It is related to the longer development of product sales on the market and the problem with chips. This also affects a much larger segment, namely the field of car production. But I believe that it is in this field of economics that a solution will be found and that there will be no major threat. The automotive industry in the Pilsen Region also drew the most support during the ANTICOVID program. However, our region is specific, it has the fourth lowest unemployment in the Czech Republic with a coefficient of 2.8 percent. There are still plenty of vacancies, so I believe we can handle the situation. It is also important to see how much Panasonic as a company employing a certain percentage of agency employees. As I am in the advisory board of the regional director of the Labor Office, we will monitor the situation in detail.
Vlastimil Gola (YES)
On October 27, a meeting was held with the new director of Panasonic, Mr. Hiromichi Kamishibahara, with the participation of Mayor Martin Baxa and Councilor for Smart City and Business Support Vlastimil Gola. From the point of view of employment, this is not a big problem at the moment. TV production in Europe cannot compete with cheap Asian manufacturers, so this step to end production has been prepared for a long time and is therefore not a surprise. Panasonic remains in Pilsen and will manufacture heat pumps there. Here, too, there is a great development, as the freon charge must be replaced by an ecological medium, probably propane-butane, from 2025, according to a European Commission regulation. The situation is slightly different in the area of Automotive. There is a complete dependence on car manufacturers and their production. Today, deliveries are “Just in time”, so carmakers do not take them to the warehouse. After the lack of chips, magnesium is starting to be missing, which is 96 percent produced in China and cannot be replaced, and it takes about 5 kg per car. The City of Pilsen monitors the situation through Councilor Vlastimil Gola (ANO) in cooperation with the Labor Office and OS KOVO. So the question is not whether we are afraid of further redundancies, but how well we will be prepared for this situation.
Michal Vozobule (TOP 09)
According to our information, the redundancies at Panasonic are associated with the unprofitability of one part of their production. However, this does not mean that Panasonic is completely leaving Pilsen. The Labor Office has already announced that regular employees will find other jobs very quickly. This could indicate that there are still companies that need employees. However, everything will be decided by the economic development in the coming months, which will certainly still be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the turbulence in energy prices, or the lack of some components and products on the market.
Martin Zrzavecký (CSSD)
The city management is in close contact with the Labor Office of the Pilsen Region. I called the director several times about the problem and we have detailed information. We do not underestimate the situation surrounding the dismissal of Panasonic employees, but there is no need to panic. According to the Labor Office, there is interest in redundant employees from other companies operating in Borské polky. It will be important how the automotive industry behaves. If production were to stop for a long time due to a lack of spare parts, then a real problem could arise. And one would expect a massive layoff of agency and regular employees, not only in companies in Borské polky. If this really happens, the city is ready to solve the situation in cooperation with the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior.
Pavel Bosak (Pirates)
I am afraid that our excessive focus on low value-added production in so-called assembly plants means that any disruption of the supply chain, for example due to a lack of chips, will naturally be reflected in the labor market in Pilsen. Especially when a large part of companies are dependent on the automotive industry. Let us hope that the agencies do not leave the dismissed foreign workers in charge of the city or the state. In particular, I do not understand why we still allow the land to be stopped by other rental halls when companies in the current ones end up.
The answers are sorted by date and time of delivery to the editorial office. Representatives of all political parties represented in the Pilsen City Council answered.
Following the announced transfer of TV production from the Panasonic factory in Pilsen to another country, around 450 regular employees of the company should lose their jobs in Pilsen at the end of March next year. Another Pilsen … has shown interest in the dismissed workers …